Signal, Noise and Global Warming’s Influence on Weather

Human-caused climate change from increasing greenhouse gasses is expected to influence many weather phenomena including extreme events. However, there is not yet a detectable long-term change in many of these extreme events, as is recently emphasized by Roger Pielke Jr. in The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change.

This means that we have a situation where there is no detectable long-term change in e.g., tropical cyclone heavy rainfall and yet we have studies that conclude that human-caused climate change made Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall 15% heavier than it would have been otherwise. This is not actually a contradiction and the video below shows why.

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2 Responses to Signal, Noise and Global Warming’s Influence on Weather

  1. Pingback: Disasters and Climate Change – part 2 | …and Then There's Physics

  2. dpy6629 says:

    Patrick, The question it seems to me is how one can get any useful information about future rainfall patterns given the terrible model skill for regional rainfall changes. Perhaps one could say generally that rainfall will increase as there is more water vapor in the atmosphere but that seems tenuous to me. One could equally say that with decreasing pole to equator temperature gradients, the driver for temperate zone severe weather will moderate. There is some evidence that tornados in the US are decreasing in number and severity. Yet there seems to be a strong selection bias in what media and scientists talk about in this regard. Why is that?

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