Post by HRM Resident
Seems like this is going to be a winter from hell. Now they have
the wind gusts hitting 140 kph. A winter version of Juan? Ugh!
Have 50 litres of fresh kerosene and two 90,000 BTU heaters, plus
a generator and 50 litres of fresh gas. We can survive for quite
awhile . . . but this better not be the new norm. Maybe it's like it
always was because we've had some near misses over the past number of
years. Looks like it is our turn this time. It *might* track
slightly closer to Yarmouth than Halifax, but I think the entire
mainland is in for it.
Glad I got fuel yesterday . . . a friend of mine just called form
Halifax and said the stores are going nuts with people stocking up.
Are these violent storms the result of us ignoring climate change,
and if so, is it possible to reverse it? Maybe it's always been this
way, but they seem a lot more intense and frequent all over the world.
Could it just be that we just have better reporting, or are the
storms really worse than 30+ years ago?
My sense after reading some of Kerry Emanuel's web site was that we're
probably off base a bit to attribute particular storms, perhaps even
particular sets of storms, to climate change. It's a problem of the
subset of storms that make landfall in a particular year being too small
compared to the total number of storms globally, the bulk of which never
reach land, over longer time periods. As Trump predictably does not
understand (or pretends not to, if you want to give more credit than
he's probably due) climate change is about global averages and over the
long term, not about particular weather events in one part of the world
over a number of weeks. Emanuel has a paper showing a clear trend for
all storms, including open ocean storms that never hit land, over a long
time frame, but for a given storm season can only make statements about
probability not causation. It's perhaps precision that's only the habit
of scientists but maybe we should all learn to think with that level of
precision, since those who make a habit or even a living out of
composing "truthy" sounding counterarguments can use this kind of
imprecision against us.
First, here's a recent summary of one of his talks:
Read carefully, because he's talking first about what will happen later
in the century and expresses the most ire re. short term problems for
the U.S. insurance policies way of encouraging development where storms
may hit. This much is uncontroversial and doesn't need difficult science
Here are graphs from a paper of his showing an increasing "cyclone
Note that the dataset is cylcones anywhere, not only those hitting land
or particularly hitting land that would be mentioned on either of our
evening news programs.
Somewhere on his site there is also a statement about the stupidity of a
statement like, "climate change caused Katrina," but I can't find it
right now. I think it was in a FAQ of some kind, perhaps in his primer.
Still, in the first link I cite above, towards the end, he does make
this fairly strong statement about probabilities:
"For the near term, Emanuel said that U.S. rainfall events as intense
as that produced by hurricane Harvey, which had about a 1 percent annual
likelihood in the 1990s, has already increased in likelihood to about 6
percent annually, and by 2090 could be about 18 percent."
So you could say what you think you notice is at least consistent with
these higher probabilities. On the other hand we could easily have a
lull in such storms, given the same probabilities. If we are sloppy in
our thinking, Exxon's band of professional liars could use such an
outcome to assure us that we don't have to give up driving and flying in
airplanes any time soon, that the trend is other than what it really is.