A meeting of delegates to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Uganda concluded today that the world must prepare for more frequent and perhaps more severe episodes of wild and disruptive weather : heat waves most assuredly and a high risk of more floods, droughts, violent wind storms, and downpours .This does not sound like a different story than we've heard many times, but the certainty is a bit higher. Thus reporters have a tedious but important chore: write it again, try to find a wrinkle that is different, prepare to get flack from contrarians who don't believe a bit of it
Brief Aside: Those scientists. They just mess with data to get more grant money. I just saw it explained, perhaps you already have, but The Daily Show had the scoop last month on their white-coated shenanigans. Parody can be the most serious commentary of all.
Today's new burst arrives with plenty of warning in previous stories. Tracker posts already run:
- Nov. 15 : BBC: A glimpse at IPCC's upcoming report on weather extremes. We'll get more of them soonish. Not so sure, but pretty sure, they're already here.
- Nov. 1: AP, AFP: Draft of an IPCC report says duck: here comes even wilder weatehr. Perps are anthropogenic GH gases, natch..
- AP - Seth Borenstein: Science Panel: Get ready for extreme weather ;
- Reuters - Ellis Biryambarema (filed from Kamapal, Uganda): Extreme weather to worsen with climate change ;
- Time Mag - Bryan Walsh: IPCC Report:Global Warming -- and Changing Population - Will Worsen the Toll of Extreme Weather ; Always a problem to try to say two things in one headline even if they are both true. MOre important, this blog post meditates on the challenge of finding new terms to use as old ones lose their punch. It's an explainer that in conversational tone walks readers through the levels of confidence the IPCC team has that things will worsen. Heat - for sure. Cyclones - probably. And even if weather does not change, targets of its wrath (people) are rising in number. So total suffering, it says here, surely will rise.
- Washington Post - Juliet Eilperin: Report: Climate change means more frequent droughts, floods to come ; She puts right at the top why it is useless to list the many record low temperatures that were set last year in the US or world to shake confidence in the reality of the trend. It is the ratio that matters. High and low records once were equally likely. Now, two out of three are on the warmer side.
- Washington Post WonkBlog - Brad Plumer : When can we blame natural disasters on global warming? ; Not a bad job of focussing on one of the points in the preceding news story. I've however gone on too long, before, on the logical fallacy of even asking if this or that event is caused by global warming. The difficulty is Wittgensteinian, a failure to grasp category and the aptness of language. ALL our specific weather events would not happen if there had never been all that extra CO2 put in the air. There are not categories of ones that are, and ones that are not, a result of that. The debate is about the frequencies with which types of events occur, not the meaningless sorting of them into make-believe bins. See also WaPost Capital Weather Gang blog - Andrew Freedman: NASA scientist Hansen warns "Climate Dice" already loaded for more extreme weather. He shows a very interesting plot, not from IPCC but from Jim Hansen, indicating how different weather is getting, already. And gets a telling quote declaring that some kinds of events are happening lately that just about could not possibly have occurred a century or even less long ago.
- Wall St. Journal: Nicholas Bariyo, John M. Biers, filed from Kampala: U.N. Panel Sees Extreme Weather Tie to Climate Change ;
- NYTimes - Justin Gillis: U.N. Panel Finds Climate Change Behind Some Extreme Weather Events ; Pretty tepid, if true, hed. The story starts with this point but moves immediately to the caveat: so far. The panel does expect a faster rate of weather extremes to become incontrovertibly evident.
- USA Today: Dan Vergano, Doyle Rice: Report: Climate change worsens extreme weather events ; The two reporters - whose names are on a fairly brief piece - had chat with readers today. Judging from the advance comments, one might expect lively conversation ripe with scorn for scientists who study the pertinent topics. I took a peek at the exchange. Very different, most civil, most questions appear to be coming from people curious to know more. Not all, but most. They did let one or two convinced skeptics in. Vergano's and Rice's answers are well-reasoned. How questions were selected for answer is impossible to tell from here - but as this is not a talk chat but a hunt-peck-and-touch type chat, it would be hard to go through more than a dozen or two Qs and As.
- Guardian (UK) Fiona Harvey: Extreme weather will strike as climate change takes hold, IPCC warns. See also a Guardian blog post from Damian Carrington: Extreme weather: We're gambling with lives at ever worsening odds ;
- Charlie Petit