24 July 2007

21st-Century Catastrophism

The Independent: A 21st century catastrophe

No one can yet attribute the flood events of the past week, or indeed, those of June, when Yorkshire suffered what Gloucestershire and Worcestershire are suffering now - again from one single day's rainfall - directly to global warming. All climates have a natural variability which includes exceptional occurrences.

But the catastrophic "extreme rainfall events" of the summer of 2007, on 24 June and 20 July, are entirely consistent with repeated predictions of what climate change will bring.
Excuse me? I don't think so! As the report in today's Independent goes on to make clear, current climate models predict that, although winters are predicted to be wetter, summers are supposed to be hotter and drier. As Michael Crichton correctly noted in his State of Fear, scientists' inability to make predictions over the past 5-20 years consistent with what has since happened underlies how little we understand trends and changes in the climate and invalidates any longer term predictions that are currently so fashionably bandied about.

It may well be that British summers will become wetter in the years that they are not hotter and drier, and that may well be caused by El Niño, La Niña, and cooler water in the Pacific Ocean off South America affecting the path of the Gulf Stream, but climate models to date have not predicted this — though no doubt it won't take the likes of Peter Stott at the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research long to produce a new model "confirming" the newly postulated link between increases in rainfall and climate change. Whatever happened to rigorous scientific methodology...?


genslub3 said...

El Niño, La Niña

are funny because the 'experts' didn't know what they were a little over a decade ago.

There was a consensus they didn't exist.

There is still a lot they don't know they make the models and have fun. It would be interesting to line up all the models and see who can tell me if it will rain next weekend.

Don't worry about warming re Yorkshire. When we started this round of warming [unless I'm mistaken] there was a glacier over yourshire. If you stop driving your SUV the glacier will grow back, then "no worries" re rain.