Fervente aanhangers van de menselijke broeikashypothese (AGW = ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’), zoals Al Gore, beklemtonen een verband tussen weersextremen en opwarming, waarmee zij de klimaathysterie aanwakkeren. Zij negeren hierbij het feit dat temperatuurstijging zo’n twintig jaar geleden nagenoeg tot stilstand is gekomen. Bovendien slaan zij geen acht op de conclusies van het VN-klimaatpanel (IPCC) dat in een speciaal daaraan gewijd rapport verklaarde geen trends te hebben kunnen ontdekken in weersextremen, noch enig verband met CO2 van welke oorsprong dan ook (natuurlijke of menselijke).

Nochtans is deze opvatting wijd verbreid en wordt deze voortdurend door de media kritiekloos gerecycled.

Zo kon men onlangs op de website van de NOS lezen:

“Daarbij komt ook dat we steeds meer te maken krijgen met dit soort extreme weersomstandigheden. Door de klimaatverandering hebben we daar allemaal mee te maken. We zouden daar zeker meer aandacht aan mogen besteden.”

Zie hier.

Wat zou de auteur van deze passage, van wie mij geen bijzondere kwalificaties op het gebied van de klimatologie bekend zijn, weten wat professionele mainstream klimatologen (het gaat in dit geval dus niet om klimaatsceptici!) niet weten?

Ook verschillende Amerikaans media hebben zich geheel losgezongen van de werkelijkheid.

Onder de titel, ‘Shame on the eco-ghouls exploiting Hurricane Harvey’ schreef Brendan O’Neill:

Here they come, the eco-ghouls, feasting on another natural disaster. This time it’s the floods in Houston. No sooner had Hurricane Harvey caused terrifying waters to consume entire streets and trailer parks than the eco-set was rushing in to try to make moral mileage out of it all. This is climate change in action, they decreed. This is man’s fault, they insist. Our hubris caused this watery horror, they claim, sounding positively Biblical, like Old Testament patriarchs warning the sinful populace that God will punish it with floods. There’s nothing like a natural disaster to remind us how backward environmentalist thinking is.

They do it all the time. Come heatwave or tsunami or volcano eruption, they cock their fingers and point them at greedy, destructive, climate-change-denying mankind, us alleged makers of these natural calamities. ‘Harvey is what climate change looks like’, says a writer for Politico. This weather is ‘political’, he says. This echoes the bizarre phrase ‘Weather of Mass Destruction’, promiscuously used by greens, which treats weather events almost as sentient, as seeking to teach us mortals a lesson about our wickedness. Indeed, a columnist for the Washington Post says we can only ‘save the planet’ if we ‘heed Harvey’s hard lesson’ — which is that nature has been too ‘dramatically altered by man’ and ‘we have to take responsibility for what we’ve done’. So man has been too modern, too cocky, too ambitious, and these floods are our comeuppance.

Lees verder hier.

Hoe het ook zij, het is zinvol om ‘Harvey’ in historisch perspectief te plaatsen.

Onder de titel, ‘Al Gore Picked Wrong Year to Release ‘Extreme Weather’ Movie’ schreven Tom Harris en Madhav Khandekar onlangs:

It is ironic that former Vice President Al Gore would choose 2017, a year in which we are seeing the fewest extreme weather events in recent times, to release a film focusing on the dangers of increasing extreme weather. If An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power were to reflect reality, it would indeed be an inconvenient sequel to his 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth, since many of his gloom and doom projections have simply not materialized.

Extreme weather (EW) has always been a natural feature of planet Earth, whether the climate was warming or cooling. However, contrary to the implications of activists like Gore, it is generally during colder times when we have experienced the most EW.

During the Little Ice Age (LIA), a period of cooling lasting from the 14th to the mid-19th century, weather was unusually extreme and variable with severe heat waves, harsh winters, droughts, storm surges, and floods. Conditions were especially bad during the coldest period of the LIA from 1550 to 1700 when — according to Dr. Sallie Baliunas, formerly of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics — weather was probably at its worst in the last thousand years. The result was crop failure, starvation, disease, death, and social unrest.

Dr. Baliunas described two particularly bad LIA days as follows:

On the afternoon of August 3, 1562, a thunderstorm struck central Europe across a front several hundred kilometers long. After raging for several hours, the storm unleashed a terrific hail that continued until midnight. It destroyed crops, vineyards, birds, and unprotected horses and cows.

On May 24, 1625, a hail storm struck central Germany and dropped one meter of hail. Two days later an arctic front descended onto central Europe and bit hard. Rivers froze. Grape vines exploded. The Rye and barley crops were destroyed. Tree leaves were blackened and fell to the ground and denuded the trees…Probably a frost that severe had not occurred in 500 years.

Though far less serious that the LIA, the Earth was generally cooling between 1945 and 1977, and it was during that time frame that many EW events occurred. For example, the worst single weather disaster in history occurred on November 12-13, 1970, when a tropical cyclone hit the area of present-day Bangladesh, killing at least a quarter of a million people.

Here is a sample of other EW events during the 1945-1977 cooling period:

October 1952: the driest month ever recorded in conterminous United States.

Summer 1961: India’s most disastrous floods, with hundreds of deaths due to overflowing dams, rivers, etc.

July 1969: Hurricane Camille slammed into U.S. Gulf Coast, killing more than 250 people and causing over one billion dollars in damage.

Summer 1972: Severe drought during Indian summer monsoon season (June-September) leading to sharply reduced rice and other crop harvests. India had to import grain for several years as a consequence.

April 3, 1974: Largest outbreak of tornadoes in the U.S. Midwest in one day. Over 250 people died with property damage in excess of one billion dollars. ….

Rather than waste money trying to prevent EW events from occurring through CO2 reduction policies, the most cost-effective strategy is for governments to accept such phenomena as naturally driven and plan appropriately. The inconvenient truth is that thousands of people will die needlessly if they do not.

Lees verder hier.

Terzijde zij opgemerkt dat Sallie Baliunas vanwege haar kritische houding ten aanzien van AGW een aantal jaren geleden is weggepest bij het ‘Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’. Hetzelfde overkwam Judith Curry om dezelfde reden bij de ‘School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences’ van het ‘Georgia Institute of Technology’. Hun opvattingen waren kennelijk niet politiek correct genoeg. Maar wetenschappelijke instellingen behoren academische vrijheid te waarborgen en niet hun oren te laten hangen naar de politieke waan van de dag. Ten aanzien van klimaat is dat niet het geval. Dat is een zorgwekkende ontwikkeling.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhier, hier, hier en hier.