Extreme weather the norm across globe

While I ponder the slow murder of my upstairs neighbour. I don’t know what he’s building but, in the famous words of Jamie Foreman, he’d give an aspirin a headache.

This is a story I hope is found to have, as they say, ‘legs’.

The world this year has suffered record-breaking weather extremes in almost every continent, the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organisation has warned, with global land temperatures reaching their highest levels since records began in 1800.

The floods, droughts, heatwaves and storms could be part of the climate’s natural variations and cannot be directly attributed to climate change. However, such instances of extreme weather are consistent with predictions of what will happen as the world’s climate grows warmer.

The full report by the IPCC’s working group can be read here.

Something that really gets on my tits is people taking the line of the Drug Addict Rush Limbaugh, pointing to every inclement cold weather as proof that global warming is a myth.

Global warming does not mean uniform increases in temperature across the globe.

Global warming means increasing sea temperatures, alterations to weather patterns. It means hot areas will have higher average increases in average temperatures, cooler areas will have lower average increases. Along the way the equatorial region will expand, as hot dry area. Deserts will expand. The extremal weather events will both increase, and become more extreme.

That is essentially the likely hit of climate change. Sure, maybe we will lose the gulf stream, and precipitate another ice age – the prevention of this is the same, and I reckon if that were to happen most of us will freeze to death, so it doesn’t bother me.

Of the two colleagues with whom I discuss this the most, one doubts the problem principally based on the quality of the data (although he seems, to me, to be using that by convenience. If it was removed, I imagine he will not be converted. He also points to the agency problem, apropos climate-change scientists being the ones both warning of climate change, and winning grants to study it). Another doesn’t seem to care, as long as America comes out on top afterwards – which he is absolutely certain it will (depending upon the scenario, I agree that it probably will).

Needless to say, I find neither argument particularly satisfying. I can’t imagine any argument convincing me that the probability of a Type 1 error is significant enough to ignore the evidenace, and I just can’t bring myself to thinking the world is okay so long as Americans survive better than anyone else. That flag means no more to me than a few cool lines in the Wu-Tang Clan’s song, A Better Tomorrow. I’m not insisting people do as I do or say, but I am looking forward to returning to a country where sense prevails.


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