Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Siberian Fires  (Read 9264 times)

silkman

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 351
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 44
  • Likes Given: 7
Siberian Fires
« on: June 30, 2013, 08:56:23 AM »
MODIS this morning has a very clear image of wild fires in Siberia with the smoke plume spreading hundreds of miles to the East.





Though these are a part of the natural course of events it's concerning to consider the implications of more frequent conflagrations on this scale in such a remote area, particularly to arctic albedo.

Sigmetnow

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 18337
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 832
  • Likes Given: 320
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 04:12:09 PM »
A Song of Flood and Fire: One Million Square Kilometers of Burning Siberia Doused by Immense Deluge     August 14, 2013

“About a week and a half ago, I reported on a great burning event in which a massive region of Russian Siberia erupted in hundreds of wildfires blanketing it in a sea of smoke clearly visible in the NASA Aqua Satellite record. Today, reports from Interfax/Radio Russia describe an immense flood emergency in which over 1 million square kilometers of Russia’s Yakutia region have been submerged by a catastrophic rain event.”

http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/a-song-of-flood-and-fire-one-million-square-kilometers-of-burning-siberia-doused-by-immense-deluge/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 05:22:04 PM »
Sigmetnow

Amazing. 

One could make an argument that the most significant climate story of this summer is not the Arctic Sea ice but the incredibly unusual weather around the globe.

A question for our weather experts.  What is the effect on storms similar to what are described above when they meet an air mass which is full of smoke from massive fires?  Do the smoke particles cause a significant increase in rainfall?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 554
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 01:06:57 PM »
.......................One could make an argument that the most significant climate story of this summer is not the Arctic Sea ice but the incredibly unusual weather around the globe.


I agree 100%!

We already know that the Polar Jet Stream has been disturbed, if not broken.  We are already hearing chatter about the interaction and potential merging of the Polar, Ferrel and Hadley cells.  While I have little or no knowledge about meteorology, I'm gathering from discussions here on ASIF and ASIB that something very strange is occurring in the Northern Hemisphere's atmosphere.

If we look at all of the severe weather disasters that have occurred globally in 2013 and attribute much of it to the changing meteorological conditions we may have already reached a tipping point.  If these severe events continue to occur and worsen on an annual basis, it may not make any difference whether the Artic is ice-free in 2016 or 2025. 

Or, will an earlier demise of the ice cover accelerate the changing meteorological conditions??
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

Ned W

  • Guest
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 01:47:05 PM »
Every year has "incredibly unusual weather around the globe."  Pick any year and you can find extreme conditions in various places to highlight. 

JackTaylor

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 209
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 03:29:25 PM »
Every year has "incredibly unusual weather around the globe."  Pick any year and you can find extreme conditions in various places to highlight.
99% Agree.

First, I believe the loss of Arctic Sea Ice is the "canary in the coal mine" of AGW and of it's consequences being real.

Second, do we have bonafide records for a sufficient length of time (history) to actually say
number of Extreme Conditions - Weather in various places is about average, or
increasing - decreasing in frequency - intensity?

There is so much we don't know. 

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 05:40:07 PM »
Every year has "incredibly unusual weather around the globe."  Pick any year and you can find extreme conditions in various places to highlight.
99% Agree.

First, I believe the loss of Arctic Sea Ice is the "canary in the coal mine" of AGW and of it's consequences being real.

Second, do we have bonafide records for a sufficient length of time (history) to actually say
number of Extreme Conditions - Weather in various places is about average, or
increasing - decreasing in frequency - intensity?

There is so much we don't know. 

Yes Jack we do have such records.  The insurance industry and NOAA keep them.

Arctic sea ice is just one of the canaries (perhaps the most interesting in many ways).  There are lots of other canaries out there (ocean acidification, species extinction, frequency of extreme weather, increasing intensity of wildfires, etc).

Sure there is unusual weather every year.  But saying it that way is just like a WUWT comment that climate has always changed in the past so nothing new or unusual is going on now. 

It is the frequency and intensity and location of that 'unusual' weather that is the point.  And that is rapidly changing for the worse.  The reinsurance industry keeps statistics on this very topic and Munich Re has published several reports on this in the last few years.  NOAA has also put out information on this topic saying the very same thing.  The topic of the frequency and extremity of weather related events around the globe in recent years being on a significant rise is not in question.  The data is there and unequivocal.

The point of my post was that, for this year, those extreme weather events could be argued to have a more immediate story to tell than the Arctic sea ice does.  This year in the Arctic it seems pretty clear that we are seeing one of the up bumps in the yearly fluctuations around the long-term downtrend for Arctic Ice.   So, perhaps, the stark situation regarding extreme weather events tells a better story right now.

A few links.  Google will find many others.   

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/06/495713/extreme-weather-is-the-new-climate-reality/

Quote
Munich Re’s natural catastrophe database, the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events. For instance, globally there has been a more than threefold increase in loss-related floods since 1980 and more than double the number of windstorm natural catastrophes, with particularly heavy losses as a result of Atlantic hurricanes.

http://www.munichre.com/en/media_relations/press_releases/2010/2010_09_27_press_release.aspx

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/12/07/384524/noaa-us-sets-record-with-a-dozen-billion-dollar-weather-disasters-in-one-year/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 06:22:28 PM »
Every year has "incredibly unusual weather around the globe."  Pick any year and you can find extreme conditions in various places to highlight.

I heard that denier meme a while back, not seen it recently, though that might be as much from dropping out of Guardian CIF mostly. I always used to fire off a sentence or two drawing attention to Hansen's research empirically showing a very substantial growth in extreme heat events has already happened (yes, I'm aware there are other types of extreme).

This is historical data and has already happened - increasing incidence of certain types of extreme conditions is not speculation, it is already demonstrably occurring.

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha00610m.html

Quote
An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (3°) warmer than the climatology of the 1951-1980 base period. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth's surface during the base period, now typically covers about 10% of the land area. It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small. We discuss practical implications of this substantial, growing, climate change.

silkman

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 351
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 44
  • Likes Given: 7
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 07:45:54 PM »
I find it a little strange that the current combination of wildfires and extensive flooding in Eastern Siberia has yet to hit the mainstream media. This piece from the Siberian Times makes the situation sound biblical in its severity and size.

Just another example of the extremes of weather? That's self-evidently true but just how many "100 year events" do we need to endure before the penny drops that the Gaussian distribution is shifting significantly to the right as a result of AGW?

http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/warning-that-100000-could-face-evacuation-in-worst-flooding-in-modern-times-while-forest-fires-also-rage/


Ned W

  • Guest
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 02:54:00 AM »
I wrote:

Every year has "incredibly unusual weather around the globe."  Pick any year and you can find extreme conditions in various places to highlight.

and ccgwebmaster replied:

I heard that denier meme a while back.

Please.  Let's drop the hyper-vigilant boundary policing act, OK?   

What I said is true.  If you doubt it, we can look at 2012 or 2011 or 2010 or 2009 or other years, and I guarantee you that I can give you a list of places and months when there was crazy, extreme weather.  Heat waves in Russia.  Floods in Queensland.  Drought in Texas. 

So how do we know whether 2013's weather was more "incredibly unusual" than usual, or just run-of-the-mill "incredibly unusual"?

The answer is not by kind of qualitatively looking around and saying "gosh, seems like a lot of weird weather lately."  Human beings absolutely suck at making comparisons of phenomena across scales of space and time larger than their immediate day-to-day experience. 

That is why we developed this thing called the scientific method.  That is why people write papers in which they try to objectively quantify extreme weather events and determine whether particular categories of extreme weather are becoming more frequent in the context of climate change.

OK, I like talking about the weather as much as the next person.  I have no problem with that.  But my cautionary note that you dismissed as a "denier meme" is entirely correct.  Every year feels like it has weird weather, especially in a globally interconnected world.  Thus, the subjective feeling that "huh, this year sure has strange weather" is not in fact a reliable indicator of anything about the climate. 

That is, or should be, common sense.  It's somewhat laughable that your response is tag it with the dreaded label of "denier meme".  More thought and less knee-jerk reactions would be good.

JackTaylor

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 209
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 04:25:30 AM »

Yes Jack we do have such records.  The insurance industry and NOAA keep them.

Arctic sea ice is just one of the canaries (perhaps the most interesting in many ways).  There are lots of other canaries out there (ocean acidification, species extinction, frequency of extreme weather, increasing intensity of wildfires, etc).

Sure there is unusual weather every year.  But saying it that way is just like a WUWT comment that climate has always changed in the past so nothing new or unusual is going on now.

JimD,
I am NOT interested in participating in a "p--ing contest" with you.
R,
JT



ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 05:04:17 AM »
I heard that denier meme a while back.

Please.  Let's drop the hyper-vigilant boundary policing act, OK?   

To be sure, it was a little zealous, apologies.

What I said is true.  If you doubt it, we can look at 2012 or 2011 or 2010 or 2009 or other years, and I guarantee you that I can give you a list of places and months when there was crazy, extreme weather.  Heat waves in Russia.  Floods in Queensland.  Drought in Texas. 

So how do we know whether 2013's weather was more "incredibly unusual" than usual, or just run-of-the-mill "incredibly unusual"?

The best that we can do (that I am aware of) is statistical attribution, to say that climate change made the event x times more likely. I imagine it will take at least some time for those studies to be done for 2013, but here are a few examples for previous events:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8328705/Floods-caused-by-climate-change.html

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/russian-heat-climate-change/
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL050422/abstract

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041129/full/news041129-6.html

I've found others in the past where the probability that the event was effectively "caused" by climate change is far higher than just a few times - but I can't remember which events they were offhand.

For me, there is a simple bottom line - there is a growing body of evidence that some types of extreme weather are increasing and the science of event attribution is progressing towards starting to give a feel for the role climate change might have played in a specific event. Given that we are also gaining understanding of mechanisms at work that directly influence extreme weather (such as the changing behaviour of the jet stream as per Francis et al 2012), it seems valid to me to perceive a significant climate change role in ongoing extreme weather - and to expect that the occurrence of extreme weather will not subside back to statistical norms, and if anything is likely to continue to increase (potentially with increasing rapidity).

Incidentally, I have seen the argument you presented used many times by deniers to push back public perception of climate change having played a role in any given extreme event. Are you aware of the research I'm citing to support my contention that it is now more than a subjective feeling that climate change is playing a significant role in increasing extreme weather?

The answer is not by kind of qualitatively looking around and saying "gosh, seems like a lot of weird weather lately."  Human beings absolutely suck at making comparisons of phenomena across scales of space and time larger than their immediate day-to-day experience. 

Actually, I think the skewed probabilities coming out more recently mean that is increasingly a safe assumption. It isn't technically valid (in the context of a single event, usually) and yet you'd be correct an ever greater portion of the time (and in some types of events already a substantial majority).

That is, or should be, common sense.  It's somewhat laughable that your response is tag it with the dreaded label of "denier meme".  More thought and less knee-jerk reactions would be good.

Well, what are your thoughts on the Hansen research - which I think makes a convincing case that climate change is statistically causing a significant percentage of extreme heat events globally now? (specifically those above 3 standard deviations of the norm)?

I appreciate one can only look at a statistical chance of a single event having happened (or been disproportionately more severe) as a result of climate change - and cannot say for a single event that climate change definitively caused it (and it didn't anyway, as climate change is a permanent ongoing signal imposed on top of the system as it was before), but once the probabilities are skewed far enough - it becomes scientifically accurate to say that most of our extreme weather recently is in fact a result of climate change (for certain types of extreme event).

If heat events above three standard deviations of the norm are now occurring 10x as often, you could event insist it was "due to climate change" with a 90% chance to be correct, is one way to look at it.

Notwithstanding that any single event in isolation might have occurred anyway (and even this may cease to be true later as things change radically), I think there is a very convincing case most extreme weather is now caused by climate change (and that some types are empirically increasing).

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 05:11:25 AM »
I find it a little strange that the current combination of wildfires and extensive flooding in Eastern Siberia has yet to hit the mainstream media. This piece from the Siberian Times makes the situation sound biblical in its severity and size.

I think part of it is that it's in the middle of nowhere and regarded as remote. The news is disproportionately dominated by fires in America, unfortunately (which may be affected by climate change too, but are hardly news at this point). I am finding there are too many extreme events occurring now to get a good picture from mainstream media - many that would've been big news before are a foot note or not reported at all (I guess the news is saturated, given the smallness of the environmental sections of most media outlets).

I don't have time to find the article/paper right now, but I read somewhere that fire regime is actually moving into parts of the Arctic we've never seen it before - and it has a profound effect in altering local albedo and potentially releasing carbon dioxide from the soil.

Just another example of the extremes of weather? That's self-evidently true but just how many "100 year events" do we need to endure before the penny drops that the Gaussian distribution is shifting significantly to the right as a result of AGW?

I think it's obvious (to me at least) that many people will continue to cling onto the notion that we can't attribute extreme weather to climate change yet (we increasingly can), and that there isn't measurable statistical techniques being applied to identify substantially changing extreme weather probabilities (there are, even if it seems to take some time for them to come back with results, ie we won't get specific statements for 2013 events for a year or two).

For some people, it may just be because they aren't up to speed with the relevant research and for others it will be either denial or refusal to come to terms with the bottom line - abrupt climate change is already here and now, and not going to get any better. There is no new norm (for quite a while at least) - just an increasingly fast plunge off the cliff.

Still, just wait until it's 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 10,000 year events - or 1 in never within human history ones...

I think this is still very early days in terms of what we should expect to see. The end result is a different planet.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3263
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 588
  • Likes Given: 391
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 06:35:12 AM »
" there are too many extreme events occurring now to get a good picture"

A very good point. Perhaps another purpose this forum could serve is to keep track of the extremes happening around the world in greater and greater frequency and intensity week by week, since no one else seems to be paying much attention?

Perhaps we could divide up tasks by region, by type of extreme, or by some other criteria?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 06:09:37 PM »
" there are too many extreme events occurring now to get a good picture"

A very good point. Perhaps another purpose this forum could serve is to keep track of the extremes happening around the world in greater and greater frequency and intensity week by week, since no one else seems to be paying much attention?

Perhaps we could divide up tasks by region, by type of extreme, or by some other criteria?

I think the question really is what purpose would it serve? In my opinion what we need more of (and fast) is research as Hansen did for extreme heat identifying measurable changes that have already occurred - and (importantly) trying to get a handle on the rate of change and how that in itself might be starting to change.

There's a lot of context one needs for any given extreme weather to try to assess the role climate change might have played. Quite a lot of detail involved in getting to the roots of the weather - note the Met Office panel determining that the rain and flooding last year in the UK was not obviously affected by climate change despite the fact it was blocking jet stream patterns that led to it! (also note how fast people forget and how those floods are fading from memory already?)

I think it's best to concentrate on the truly new things as they inform us best as to what is current (and by near future extrapolation what we should expect to come soon). Extreme weather is now just another fact of life (to me at least - things in my google alert I'd have rushed to read a few years ago as being at the bleeding edge of useful information I now just skim over the links*).

What I think we ought to be looking for next are major regional regime changes - permanent (for human purposes) effects in large scale regions that have substantial (in some cases game changing) effects.

The emergence and growth of fire regime in the Arctic circle with it's typically otherwise high albedo and carbon rich soils waiting to contribute their share of our ultimate problem is one such example.

The reversion of the US midwest to desert and the failure of agriculture in portions of the country due to water stress (noting competition from fracking!) would be another.

The loss of the Amazon rainforest to drought and dieback or burning would be another.

I can't speak for everyone naturally - but those sorts of events are where I'm setting my radar for useful information gained ahead of the curve (the curve is shortening, I was surprised how fast the Francis research became well known and now even the big unmentionable - methane -  is in focus).

*although I do remind myself that a few years ago it would've been a big deal, as it helps keep the mind focused on just how fast things are changing

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 06:17:12 PM »
Ned

What you wrote is actually not correct in terms of what we are talking about around here.  I provided links demonstrating that.  To repeat the
Quote
frequency and intensity
of extreme weather is rapidly increasing.  Fact.  Does every year have extreme weather events, sure, but that is not the point.

Your comment to ccg:

Quote
OK, I like talking about the weather as much as the next person.  I have no problem with that.  But my cautionary note that you dismissed as a "denier meme" is entirely correct.  Every year feels like it has weird weather, especially in a globally interconnected world.  Thus, the subjective feeling that "huh, this year sure has strange weather" is not in fact a reliable indicator of anything about the climate. 

That is, or should be, common sense.  It's somewhat laughable that your response is tag it with the dreaded label of "denier meme".  More thought and less knee-jerk reactions would be good.

First, it is not correct as was shown by both of us; second, it "is" a denier meme that is commonly used by that group of people; third, common sense is not so common and it is frequently wrong as in this case.  You speak of the scientific method in your post and then you proceed to ignore it and the data, and then form your opinion from common sense (which the scientific method was formed to correct the mistakes entailed with using). 

The ASIB and Forum sticks with data and science within the capabilities of the posters here.  When you make a bad assumption or a mistake someone is bound to correct you.  It happens to all of us.  It is not personal so there is no need to let your rhetoric drift towards sarcasm and semi-insulting comments.  You were mistaken and it was pointed out why.  There is no sense doubling down on a bad assumption.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Ned W

  • Guest
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 08:56:26 PM »
JimD, I think you're under the mistaken impression that I said something like "extreme weather events aren't increasing" or "climate change doesn't lead to an increase in extreme weather events".  But I haven't said any such thing.  Perhaps you're so used to arguing with "deniers" that it's become a habit?

At least some types of extreme weather events probably are increasing and this probably is a result of climate change. 

But the way to establish that is to objectively analyze the frequency of extreme events over time.  Hansen, Sato, and Ruedy 2012 is a nice example of this.  Francis and Vavrus 2012 is especially nice because it goes into some depth on the mechanisms involved.   

But my statement earlier in this thread was in fact correct.  You can't establish that 2013 has had more unusual weather than, say, 2003, by subjectively looking around and tallying up a bunch of news headlines.  You also can't do attribution of particular events that way.  It is not a "denier meme" to point this out. 

Ned W

  • Guest
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2013, 09:17:55 PM »
Quote from: ccgwebmaster
For me, there is a simple bottom line - there is a growing body of evidence that some types of extreme weather are increasing and the science of event attribution is progressing towards starting to give a feel for the role climate change might have played in a specific event. Given that we are also gaining understanding of mechanisms at work that directly influence extreme weather (such as the changing behaviour of the jet stream as per Francis et al 2012), it seems valid to me to perceive a significant climate change role in ongoing extreme weather - and to expect that the occurrence of extreme weather will not subside back to statistical norms, and if anything is likely to continue to increase (potentially with increasing rapidity).

I agree completely with that.

Quote from: ccgwebmaster
Well, what are your thoughts on the Hansen research - which I think makes a convincing case that climate change is statistically causing a significant percentage of extreme heat events globally now? (specifically those above 3 standard deviations of the norm)?

If you mean the Hansen et al. 2012 paper in PNAS, I think it's quite good. 

My point way back at the start of this thread was that the statement "the most significant climate story of this summer is [...] the incredibly unusual weather around the globe" assumes that 2013's weather is in fact "incredibly unusual".  But we don't know that!   Neither Hansen et al. 2012 nor Francis & Vavrus 2012 says that 2013's weather has to be unusual.  There is a huge amount of interannual variability in extreme events and even when such events are increasing it's not the case that year N+1 or even N+10 will necessarily have more of them than year N.  And as I said earlier, people are notoriously poor at making these kinds of comparisons.  Is 2013's weather more extreme than 2003's (heat waves) or 2005's (Atlantic tropical storms)?  Unless you sit down to do a rigorous comparison there's really no way to answer that question.

Hope that clarifies things a bit, and sorry if the initial two-sentence version was unclear.

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2013, 10:12:43 PM »
My point way back at the start of this thread was that the statement "the most significant climate story of this summer is [...] the incredibly unusual weather around the globe" assumes that 2013's weather is in fact "incredibly unusual".  But we don't know that!

Well, I think we broadly agree excepting in one regard - perspective.

We can both agree that there is increasingly extreme weather and that there are scientific studies supporting that assertion.

Where we differ is perspective - from your point of view, you require the scientific evidence to prove that the 2013 extreme weather is heavily influenced from climate change - eg we don't know that it is.

Well, my perspective is different - in my judgement there is enough accumulated evidence and scientific research to indicate a strong enough probability that a lot of the extreme weather is due to climate change, and therefore I would argue the opposite - we don't know that it's not.

Accordingly, I would update my position if the scientific studies (when they become available for this year) indicated that the extreme weather of 2013 was not (in substantial part) caused by climate change. My default presumption at this stage is to assume climate change is continuing to play a role in the manner identified in recent science for recent years.

I think that's a valid position to take as there is no scientific basis I can think of for the influence of climate change in relation to extreme weather to diminish or subside (ie to put us back in a situation where most extreme events are natural variation from long term norms drawn from before climate change was introducing such a strong signal).

All that said, I'm not going to be too critical of someone for taking the opposite perspective at this stage as this is still an emerging branch of the science. In life it is necessary to take judgement calls, and the individual gets to decide where and how they take them.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3263
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 588
  • Likes Given: 391
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2013, 11:45:02 PM »
"we don't know that it's not"

Yes, this is the point I always try to make in these discussions.

Once upon a time, it would have been seen as the very height of superstitious ignorance for someone to wonder whether their actions had influenced the weather.

Now broadly speaking we can say that human activity is affecting pretty much all weather to some extent.

Besides average temperature, GW has also increased average humidity by some 5%. A planet where the average temperature and the average humidity has been altered to this extent is already a climatologically different planet.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Siberian Fires
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2013, 05:39:08 PM »
NewW

What I actually said was this:

Quote
One could make an argument that the most significant climate story of this summer is not the Arctic Sea ice but the incredibly unusual weather around the globe.

What this 'means' is just what it says.  That I find the weather events of this year to be a more significant story.

Your comment back to me fits a 'denier' meme exactly. So how else would I take it.  Variations of that meme, if you are not aware of it, go along the lines of there has always been extremes of weather so extreme weather events don't have any thing to tell us.  Just move along.

Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but that is the way it came off.

I replied with facts refuting the meme which seems appropriate.  You appear to now be agreeing with those facts and studies (Hansen, etc).  Yet you still say:

Quote
At least some types of extreme weather events probably are increasing and this probably is a result of climate change.


Which once again seems to indicate that you do not accept the data and work by Hansen and others. So which is it?

As to this

Quote
But my statement earlier in this thread was in fact correct.  You can't establish that 2013 has had more unusual weather than, say, 2003, by subjectively looking around and tallying up a bunch of news headlines.  You also can't do attribution of particular events that way.  It is not a "denier meme" to point this out.

If you are trying to say that I said this about 2013 you are mistaken, I didn't, and I made no such attribution based upon a bunch of news events.  I said the weather this year was a more interesting story than the Arctic Sea ice.  YMMV but I think it is. 

The point I reacted to is that you seemed to be saying that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather was not increasing.  Which, if that is what you were saying, is factually incorrect.  You are implying in your statement that 2013 does not fit this pattern.  Which may be true (the year is not over yet) but is highly unlikely given the data to date and the studies we are referring to above.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein