Fantasy Of Extreme Weather

Fantasy Of Extreme Weather

This week there were three stories describing new research proving that global warming is going to cause an increase in the number and violence of extreme weather events. Each was published in one of the world’s three most important scientific journals.

Sounds gloomy, doesn’t it? Not only will extreme heatwaves, cold waves, and droughts tear apart the very fabric of society, you will not be able to drink your soda in peace on your next airplane ride!

However, one little detail, buried in one of these stories as a single sentence, literally makes hogwash out of everything else said in these three articles.

But before I tell you that little detail, I want to discuss each story itself, for even without that detail these stories have feet of clay.

The first proposes that atmospheric turbulence will increase drastically once the amount of carbon dioxide has risen to be twice what it was prior to the beginning of the industrial revolution. At the present rate of increase, this moment is expected to occur in about 2050.

During winter months, when clear-air turbulence is at its worst in that area, 16 of the 21 often-used ways in which scientists measure turbulence suggest that the average intensity of the plane-rattling phenomenon … will be between 10% and 40% stronger when CO2 concentrations are double their preindustrial value. … Accordingly, the frequency of moderate-or-greater turbulence—intensities at which passengers will experience accelerations of 0.5 g or more, which are strong enough to toss items about the cabin—will rise by between 40% and 170%.

Oh no! We’re all gonna die!

Not really. This report is not based on actual data, but on a computer simulations using the same computer models that have also been predicting for the past twenty years that the increase in the global temperature will rise in lockstep with the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, all those computer models have turned out to be wrong. While the amount of CO2 has continued to go up, the global temperature stopped rising around 1998.