What do I think, What can I do?

Posts tagged ‘extreme events’

Extreme weather and skepticism

Recently, IPCC launched a special report about extreme weather events (SREX). And the climate blogosphere has reacted, as it should.

Climate Hawks considered it correct but too soft in some senses. Joe Romm says it is a bit outdated regarding some articles, RealClimate does not agree with  one interpretation of statistics.

In the other hand, some climate skeptics have welcomed it effusively ,for example this one in spanish considers it a victory of the science.

This author was based in Piekle Jr blog and has read a different report really, because he considers that the report denies the occurrence of more extreme events in last years due to climate change. It has been one of the most striking examples of cherry picking I have come across last times, and there are many of those (I love this word).

A last example is the vegan blog from which I took the photo. They consider the link established and the occurrence clear. Yes , reading the same report.

I haven’t read it thoroughly but I agree more with the vegans, the report is written in a scientific tone, not a journalist one, but clearly talks about the risks increment due of extreme events.

This is an important battlefield in climate change, extreme events are an important negative consequence of climate change but at the same time are a great driving force for public opinion. Average temperatures are not easy to notice whereas terrible floods or hurricanes or droughts are impossible to forget. Even when they are not scientifically considered a climate change consequence they exert a great effect. Sometimes the science come to us in unexpected ways. For these reasons we will continue to discuss about them.

And painfully to suffer them unless we change our emissions path fast.

Snow at home

This week has been unusually cold in the whole Europe, and also for me. I am not used to see all this snow around me, and even if some snow around Bilbao is not strange every winter I do not remember it lasting so long. My memories of childhood remember a friend always asking for snow to avoid going to school as it happened once, but regrettably for him no more in our school years.
Anyway I may be wrong because I do not trust too much my weather memories, nor the memories of people surrounding me, because it is easy to listen many people explaining how extreme has been any weather condition every year. Nevertheless, as I frequently discuss with my wife climate change is not about our vague memories or climate feelings, it is about data, long term and geographically widespread data. For this reason I do not read with much interest the frequent posts in skeptic blogs about cold winter in India, or in Nebraska, or this time in Europe.
The skeptic posts about those freezing temperatures are widespread, here, here, here , and here, as it is cold is not warming. The answer in climate hawks blogs is that more energy in the atmosphere means more extreme weather events and I remember a conference about climate change where the speaker say precisely that, more extreme events in Europe would occur due to changes in wind regimes could be a consequence of higher global temperatures.

I think that it is important to distinguish weather tfrom global climate, wonderfully explained in this video. This winter is not a probe against climate change and it is not a probe of it although matches with some of the predictions. Even having extreme events doesn’t probe anything, the increasing number of extreme events is the key index to check, along with many others.

The fight with the sea in saint Jean the Luz, will climate change alter the result?


Saint Jean de Luz beach in a winter sunny day

In the first week of this year I had the chance to visit the wonderful Basque town of Saint Jean de Luz, a beautiful site living just in front of the sea. Apart from the very nice day trip in a gorgeous winter sunny day,  I was surprised to see the heavy walls in front of the beach, before the first line of houses. It was a walk too, but the structure and stony aspect was of a wall.

Reading the touristic explanation my thoughts were confirmed, it was a wall to protect the houses and streets from the sea. The peaceful sight of the beach could become a terrible wave under heavy storms and the inhabitants had fought for centuries. It has been a war with many battles, and some of them sourly lost but nowadays it seems quite under control.

And I asked myself, what will happen with a higher sea level and more extreme weather events in the next decades? Because when thinking about consequences of climate change and sea level rise I always think about sunk houses but before any house sinks it will happen that seafront houses and restaurants will suffer severe damages under storms and will have it very difficult to renew the insurances.

I hope they will be able to adapt as they have been for centuries, but this time, even with much better means the battle will be tougher.