Extreme weather more frequent in first than in second half of last century

Ocean storm. Credit: Shutterstock

There is an interesting and very easy to read paper by MJ. KELLY (University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering) titled “Trends in Extreme Weather Events since 1990“, published in Feb.2016 in the Journal of Geography & Natural Disasters.

The essence of this study is the following: “A survey of official weather sites and the scientific literature provides strong evidence that the first half of the 20th century had more extreme weather than the second half, when anthropogenic global warming is claimed to have been mainly responsible for observed climate change”. This is a big problem for all those who tirelessly write about increasing extreme weather events and promote immediate decarbonization of our societies to avoid the impending climate disasters. It also is a stumbling block for the poor structural engineer who plans dams, dikes, bridges and other big constructions: should he  device stronger (and much more expensive) structures, as suggested by the climate alarmist community, or should he rely on the lessons of past history?

Kelly politely writes about “the disconnect between real-world historical data on the 100 years’ time scale and the current predictions”, when in effect the disconnect shows that the numerous mentions of “more extreme weather” caused by global warming correspond perhaps to some wishful thinking, but are not grounded in reality.

Very telling is the next figure (taken from a I. Goklany paper) which gives the deaths and the death-rate (in millions per year) from extreme weather events:

Clearly, if one would plan a trip back in the past, the period 1950 to 2000 would be much less dangerous! Kelly adds more graphs (all taken from official data sources) which confirm this situation.

He than reflects on a problem that is continuously debated in the climate realists circles: We should not naively trust the official data series, as many have been “doctored” and “re-doctored” over the time (the scientific correct expression is “homogenized”), practically always in a way that inflates the current warming. A very good illustration is a graph from a paper by Hansen (1984) and from a modern global temperature series (Nasa-GISS, the employer of Hansen) :

Where in the first paper 1980 was colder than 1940, the situation has flipped to the opposite!


The conclusion is best given by the words of the author: “The lack of clarity about future extreme weather, after 20 years of intensive analysis of future climates is deeply worrying. There is nothing that emerges from references [1,2] that would require a significant refinement of the margins that have applied over the last half-century, and hyperbole is no substitute for hard facts in the engineering of the physical infrastructure.”

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