Climate experts have published peer-reviewed research in the journal European Physical Journal Plus that takes a wrecking ball to numerous unsubstantiated claims about ‘apocalyptic’ climate change that have flourished in the mainstream press.
One such article comes from the New York Times in March 2022, which claimed that: “Scientists have been able to draw links between a warming planet and hurricanes, heat waves and droughts, but the same can’t be said for tornadoes yet.”
But such presumptions are utterly demolished with data and fact-based analysis in the 2022 study, “A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming.” It disabuses readers of the fallacious argument that climate change poses an existential threat to human life and to the planet.
The first point of contention that the researchers analyze is whether the marginal increase in global temperatures has been accompanied by an increase in major hurricanes.
“Historically, around 60% of all economic damages caused by disasters worldwide is the consequence of hurricanes in the USA , and more than 80% of this damage comes from major hurricanes,” the authors state. “It is therefore not surprising that hurricanes grab interest and attention. Due to their frightening destructive potential, it is also not surprising that hurricanes are a central element in the debate on climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.”
“To date, global observations do not show any significant trends in both the number and the energy accumulated by hurricanes, as shown in Fig. 1 and as claimed in several specific papers for the USA, which report the trend dating back to over 160 years ago, or for other regions of the globe,” the authors note.
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“Therefore, after adjusting the time series to take into account the smaller observational capacities of the past, there remains only a small nominally positive upward trend of the tropical storms from 1878 to 2006,” the authors observe. “Statistical tests indicate that this trend is not significantly distinguishable from zero.”
The authors then addressed the lack of any observed relationship between the increase in global temperatures and the frequency of tornadoes.
“With increased Doppler radar coverage, population growth and increased attention to tornado reports, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports in recent decades,” the authors observe. “This can create the misleading appearance of a growing frequency of tornadoes.”
“When asked if climate change pushes to influence the occurrence of tornadoes, NOAA says that at the moment it is not possible to give an answer and that more research is needed as these events occur on very small scales, which makes observations and modelling challenging,” the study states.
Despite improvements in reportage on tornadoes, the trend in annual frequency of all tornadoes has risen only slighty since 1988 before leveling off. The overall trend in annual frequency for the strongest tornadoes (F3-F5) has not risen since 1950; indeed, it has significantly decreased.
The study’s authors then note the lack of evidence that floods are increasing in magnitude, despite evidence of an overall increase in total precipitation.
“About floods it can be said that although evidence of an increase in total annual precipitation is observed on a global level, corresponding evidence for increases in flooding remains elusive and a long list of studies shows little or no evidence of increased flood magnitudes, with some studies finding more evidence of decreases than increases,” the authors note.
“In conclusion, although evidence of an increase in total annual precipitation is observed on a global level, this does not translate into an increase in intensity or frequency of floods,” the authors add.
The authors in this section make an interesting remark on the major role that water vapor itself plays in the natural phenomenon referred to as the “greenhouse effect.”
“Precipitation is a key segment of energy and matter cycle of our planet . In fact water evaporated from oceanic surfaces and transpired by land vegetation absorbs large amounts of energy in the form of latent heat and is a fundamental carrier for zonal and meridional transport of energy . Moreover, water vapour is the main greenhouse gas being responsible of the 51% of the whole greenhouse effect of our planet . In this context, precipitation releases the energy carried by the atmosphere and at the same time modulates the greenhouse effect acting on the residence time of water vapour in the atmosphere. ”
The researchers then turn to their attention to global reportage on droughts in the last half-century.
“The IPPC in its AR5 reports on page 44 that ‘conclusions regarding global drought trends increasing since the 1970s are no longer supported’ and several studies indeed show no increase in the main indices regarding global drought,” the study points out.
In a time series representing the global yields of harvested grains, the authors illustrate that those have increased alongslide the increase in CO2 and overall increase in observed global temperatures.
The authors then turn to natural disasters to investigate if those are posing an increased threat to mankind.
“Looking at natural disasters since 1900 shown in Fig. 8, a very small number can be observed since the middle of the last century, when a sudden growth begins which stops towards the end of the twentieth century to give way to a trend marked by a slight decrease,” the authors state.
“This trend is very strange: is it possible that natural disasters essentially appeared towards the middle of the twentieth century and that they showed such dramatic growth until the end of the century?” the authors ask. “It should also be noted that this trend is at first sight ‘consistent’ with the growth of the global temperature of the planet.”
Now, relevant to this analysis is the statistical fact that deaths from natural disasters have declined 99 percent from a century ago. So, regardless of the various reasons for that fact, it is dubious that the world is confronted by the ‘existential danger’ of climate change.
The authors further show that one major reason for the increase in datapoints for many studies is that technological advances have increased the capacity of nation-states to report on weather events and natural disasters.
“In support of this interpretation, there is also the growth of earthquakes, shown in Fig. 9, which should have nothing to do with global warming and which presents a temporal trend similar to that of all other natural disasters,” the authors add.
“In our opinion, this confirms that the main reason of the increase in the second half of the twentieth century is the growing reporting capacity of individual states and that since this capacity has stabilized on a reliable level, the number of disasters has become stationary or has even gone down,” the study continues. “It is the same phenomenon already observed for hurricanes and tornadoes.”
“Moreover, reporting has improved because civil protection systems have reached higher organizational levels in many parts of the world; at the same time, the levels of interconnection with international organizations have improved and this should be highlighted as a positive element,” the authors remark.
The authors close their study with a sensible statement on the major tradeoffs presented to humanity in its endeavors to counter the predominately natural phenomenon of ‘climate change.’
“Since its origins, the human species has been confronted with the negative effects of the climate; historical climatology has repeatedly used the concept of climate deterioration in order to explain negative effect of extreme events (mainly drought, diluvial phases and cold periods) on civilization,” the authors state. “Today, we are facing a warm phase and, for the first time, we have monitoring capabilities that enable us to objectively evaluate its effects.”
“We need to remind ourselves that addressing climate change is not an end in itself, and that climate change is not the only problem that the world is facing,” the authors add. “The objective should be to improve human well-being in the twenty-first century, while protecting the environment as much as we can and it would be a nonsense not to do so: it would be like not taking care of the house where we were born and raised.”
Instead of reverting to a pre-civilizational standard of living in order to purportedly alleviate the effects of climate change, the authors recommend approaching the problems posed by climate in a more “objective and constructive spirit” and not waste limited resources on “costly and ineffective solutions.”
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.