Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spinning Tornados

Adopting Andrew Sullivan's methodology I point you to interesting stuff elsewhere.

There's a huge kerfuffle about attributing severe weather in Alabama to climate forcing. Kevin Trenberth and Peter Gleick come out strongly in favor of "this is the sort of thing"-ism.

It is irresponsible not to mention climate change.The environment in which all of these storms and the tornadoes are occurring has changed from human influences
David Appel, who gets far too little credit as a pioneer of climate blogging, is, perhaps surprisingly, appalled.
You don't have to look very far to disprove this -- in fact, you don't even have to look farther than the Drudge Report, which today links to this story:
5 P.M. UPDATE: Hundreds treated at DCH
"The loss of life is the greatest from an outbreak of U.S. tornadoes since April 1974, when 329 people were killed by a storm that swept across 13 Southern and Midwestern states."
When are activists going to learn that they will never make their case by falsifying the science, and that, in fact, they only harm their cause when they do so? You cannot draw conclusions about climate based on weather. You can only do it via long-term (decadal or more) statistics.

Please tattoo this on your foreheads, so you don't ruin this for those of us trying to communicate actual, real science, with all its inconvenient unknowns and uncertainties.
Judith Curry, who has many good links, is somewhat more predictably appalled.

I think that we are seeing another instance of excessive attention to "attribution" in a statistical sense. The climate is changing with increasing rapidity. Some of the changes will be anticipated, some not. We shouldn't presume that changes will be locally monotonic. They won't be. Under the circumstances, we'll get extraordinary runs of just-the-sort-of-awfulness-we-get-around-here in various places as the system wobbles about. I mean, what did you expect?

On that basis, +1 Trenberth

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