“I’m starting to better understand why some reasonable people are often concerned about the way in which the impact of extreme weather events are sometimes framed.”
How does one demonstrate that climate change has influenced the severity of an extreme weather event?
Are there politics involved in attributing extreme events and disasters to climate change?
Should we really be worried about the extreme events which by definition are bad and rare or as
smallbluemike might say worry more about the persistent long term general effects which are bad?
These are the questions that arise.
We have covered this ground a number of times before but it is still relevant.
Usually it is on the basis of assessment by Roger Pielke Jun v the assessment, usually bad, of a new paper on this subject.
Severity [of the event].
Damage now, compared to past and future.
Influence [once attribution is established].
I have argued, in the past, that extreme and severe weather events evade labeling and pigeonholing of these events in a useful manner.
Better to stick to the overall general changes that occur and cause problems if that is what one is looking for.
The problem with attribution is that general weather patterns due to climate change do not lead to predictable outcomes.
Every argument that a cyclone or tornado might have been made worse falls on the side that the same changes might have made it better [less harmful].
The butterfly flapping its wings causes an event that though catastrophic could have been made better or worse by one flap more or less. No one can know. Speculation, worse rife speculation can be entered into but it is always, individually, a coin toss..
Warming we say has increased in the last 20 years.
Anecdotally I would say that tornadoes have been less frequent and deadly up till now over the last 15 years and cyclones the same.
When one calls out these extreme weather events as attributable to global warming now, and uses the example of the last 20 years, the argument falls flat.
This point can and will be soundly debated but the only result will be noisy opinions.
Damage is another issue which is difficult to qualify for the reasons that ATTP put up plus population growth and the growth of more expensive things to damage.
Influence is the most interesting.
Once attribution is insisted upon , and damage, one can look at influence.
Here the jury has the option of looking at conditions and causation.
Does colder weather increase tornado frequency?
Does warmer weather reduce Hurricane frequency?