Thursday, October 04, 2012

Bob Brown exaggerated

Attribution of extreme climate on anthropogenic global warming
Remembering back to the Queensland floods and the attempt by Bob Brown to blame this onto the coal industry. IMO he tried to make something sound certain which was very, very far from certain.
GREENS leader Bob Brown has pinned the blame for the Queensland floods on the coal industry.

He says the sector's contribution to global warming is responsible for the extreme weather conditions causing the floods.

Senator Brown said yesterday the "coal barons" should be made to pay for the damage caused by natural disasters, with half of Canberra's planned mineral resources rent tax set aside for a repairs fund.

"Burning coal is a major cause of global warming," he said. "This industry, which is 75 per cent owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades."

Scientists had concluded that the floods were caused by record high temperatures in the oceans around Australia.

"It is unfair that the cost is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits," said Senator Brown, who was stranded by the floods in Tasmania for two days.
- Coal barons must pay for flood damage, says Bob Brown
The problem is finding reliable scientific sources that you can trust wrt the global warming issue.

I am neither an alarmist or a denier. I did spend a reasonable amount of time a while ago searching for experts I could trust. It's very hard to describe that search process. So, of course it's possible that I have ended up trusting the wrong experts. My own opinion is worth little. I'm reliant on the experts and my only hope here is that I'm good at picking the right experts.

But FWIW the experts I have ended up with are Pielke snr, Pielke jnr, Richard Tol and Judith Curry. So, I'm just publishing a short summary by Judith Curry here on this question, since it seems to me to recognise the complexity of the subject and achieve some balance where balance is required:

Judith Curry, chair of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences:
The substantial interest in attributing extreme weather events to global warming seems rooted in the perceived need for some sort of a disaster to drive public opinion and the political process in the direction of taking action on climate change. However, attempts to attribute individual extreme weather events, or collections of extreme weather events, may be fundamentally ill-posed in the context of the complex climate system, which is characterized by spatiotemporal chaos. There are substantial difficulties and problems associated with attributing changes in the average climate to natural variability versus anthropogenic forcing, which I have argued are oversimplified by the IPCC assessments. Attribution of extreme weather events is further complicated by their dependence on weather regimes and internal multi-decadal oscillations that are simulated poorly by climate models.

I am unconvinced by any of the arguments that I have seen that attributes a single extreme weather event, a cluster of extreme weather events, or statistics of extreme weather events to anthropogenic forcing. Improved analysis of the attribution of extreme weather events requires a substantially improved and longer database of the events. Interpretation of these events in connection with natural climate regimes such as El Nino is needed to increase our understanding of the role of natural climate variability in determining their frequency and intensity. Improved methods of evaluating climate model simulations of distributions of extreme event intensity and frequency in the context of natural variability is needed before any confidence can be placed in inferences about the impact of anthropogenic influences on extreme weather events.

- Climate Change, Extreme Weather Linked(?) at Last

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