Climate Droughts in Europe?

We know that some extreme events are caused by climate change and others are not. Europe’s current situation seems to fall into the former camp- the full list of climate change influenced events is heat waves, heavy precipitation, ecological drought, agricultural drought and fire weather.

My question is this how much of the perception of current climate emergency is driven by the flawed availability heuristics the media presents us with, and how much is legitimate cause for concern. To understand the extent to which media presentation can affect our perceptions we should consider American polling on how widespread was the belief of common shootings by police of unarmed Black men.

The actual number was 10.

So my first question is this. How do we avoid flawed availability heuristics in our worldview building mechanisms? Is there a systemic way to tackle this problem? We know the media is incentivised to present the worst possible picture of climate for the simple reason that exaggerating the seriousness of any issue because it drives engagement, even before we consider that the media class has been captured by a social class who live in social ecosystem which provides strong social incentives for those willing to exaggerate climate emergency in order to provoke climate action.

Thoughts?

Second, how do we explore alternate hypothesis without seeming fringe? For example, during the time of the Roman Empire a large amount of colonial expansion occurred in North Africa. But changes to local climates meant that over time, water sources dried up, killing the colonial effort. By looking at history we can understand that although climate change is accelerating changes in local climate and weather systems, these changes were going to occur eventually, anyway. Our activities have simply brought them forward significantly.

My biggest concern is that our leaders have committed to courses on policy which might be politically feasible, but which have been proven to be ineffective for anyone with an even elementary understanding of engineering principles, specifically in energy, but now also increasingly in relation to food. The current zeitgeist and desire to deploy top-down overly mechanistic solutions to problems predicts a course which sees much of the word plunged back into irremediable absolute poverty, famine, starvation and disease, and the West returned to 1930s living standards (at the very least).

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One thing for sure is that card-carrying climate deniers take the summer off, cuz there won’t be much chirping from them during droughts and heat waves. They get their work done during blizzards and “coldest day of the year” times.

The GW part is happening…insofar as one can make that statement based on recent trends against an overall record that only goes back 140 years, which barely registers as a blip in earth’s geology…and how much you believe the “A” part plays a role can probably be predicted based on your politics.

Of course, to simply acknowledge a problem still leaves you a fair distance from any potential solutions, let alone economically viable and scientifically feasible ones for which you can hope to garner anything even remotely resembling consensus.

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For anyone interested here is a short paper from 15 years ago on previous extra-tropical drought periods. @Geary_Johansen2020 I guess as you said in another post re The Great Barrington Declaration, even our best and brightest can be made to look fringe if the rest of their field are cowering in the corner. This paper provides a bit more context given the amplified alarmism and covers six drought periods from the last 170 years:

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Great bit of research in finding this paper. I did wonder whether our current paradigm was dependent upon a too short period of history for defining ‘normal’. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that the Maunder Minimum occurred.

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“Earth was a slightly cooler planet in 2021.”

The matter of fact way that the ‘Alarmists’ report that fact leads me to believe they are telling the truth – the truth about that little bit of cooling, but also the truth about the hotter years too.

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We have been over this ground before in other posts. Over the past 10 000 years, the planet has been warming, and continues to warm. Even with my sceptic hat on, I believe we have irrefutable evidence of this. The only question therefore is are we accelerating this through combustion of fossil fuels? We have a theory how this could be happening in spite of the very low levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, but given all the potential factors impacting global warming, we can never be 100% certain.

The second issues for me is that as a global population, we will never be able to curb fossil fuel consumption over the next 20 years in any meaningful way, no matter how hard we try. There are no simple cheap alternatives universally available to all people everywhere on the planet.

Therefore my final conclusion, whatever governments try to do here, they will cock this up. The proposed solutions will inflict more pain than do any good.

We need to stop fighting this silly war on climate change, and start seriously looking at alternatives to fossil fuels for our future energy needs. A planet of 7 billion people needs sources of cheap energy ideally with minimal environmental impact. If the focus is clean energy at a premium, the approach is dead in the water.

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I agree with the thrust of your post but we can in fact be 100% certain so long as the laws of physics hold. CO2 and other gasses are proven to produce the greenhouse effect, it cannot be denied. The only thing is the question of degree, no pun intended. And it does seem that there is plenty of room to debate that.

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EVERYTHING is and will always be open to challenge. Your statement could very easily be disproven sometime in the future, to deny this is to defy the fundamental principle of the scientific approach.

On the claim that hurricanes are getting more deadly, again this is not borne out by the facts.

Galveston was totally submerged from the storm surge in 1900. In the Great Hurricane of 1780 heavy two ton cannon were ripped off of ships and propelled through houses on land. This was the reason that the French fleet sort refuge near Yorktown in 1781 and where therefore able to support George Washington in this decisive battle. The French fleet were scared stiff of Hurricanes in the Caribbean thanks to the one in 1780.

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Doctrinally of course you are correct, but in practice some things are very well established and the greenhouse effect is one of them. The Earth could turn out to be flat after all, but it is unlikely. I never mentioned anything about hurricanes.

Really? That would take quite a wind.

I didn’t know that, most interesting. Poseidon blows and America gets it’s independence.

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The hurricane took place before modern tracking of tropical storms began, but historical accounts indicate that the storm started in the Atlantic and on October 10 reached Barbados, where it destroyed nearly all the homes on the island and left few trees standing. Witness reports in Barbados and Saint Lucia claimed that even sturdy stone buildings and forts were completely lost to the wind, with heavy cannons being carried hundreds of feet.

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I’m still skeptical about the cannons. Could roll of course but not be picked up. I lived on St. Lucia and know the very cannons that would be involved. Blown over buildings, sure.

but not skeptical about causes of climate change?

Sure this claim could be bogus, but I do see a much clearer potential link.

  1. Hurricanes tend to create many tornados. some times up to 200 major ones.
  2. Tornado’s can lift some significantly heavy stuff.
  1. The cannons were mounted on a ships deck with tall masks and sails attached (even if not fully deployed). I could see possible trebuchet type effect in which Mother Nature flings cannons off the deck at objects on shore.

With you on a dead lift of a cannon mounted on the land being highly unlikely, but if someone reported finding a cannon lodged in the roof of their house, I would not automatically call them a liar.

treboche? You mean trebuchet? Sure, that’s a possible answer. Not all stories can be believed anyway, but if the story is true, the method of movement of a cannon is open to speculation and who’s to say? Mind a cannon, moving at great speed is also very unlikely to be supported by a roof, no? On balance I just don’t believe it. The thing is that a heavy object that is also a big object offers lots of area for the wind to effect, but a cannon does not.

Yes, true, and not sure what went with the cannon, and it is claimed penetrated the roof. Several reports claimed cannon and also that stone buildings were dismantled (again it claims wind, I would think storm surge more likely).

End of the day, bad storms have been around, not sure that they are getting worse, or that our burning fossil fuels has anything to do with it, but the prevailing narratives is that we want it to.

Hence @Geary_Johansen2020 question, how do we know what to believe, unless it is what we want to?

Bottom line is I don’t care, I have the Wisdom to know that we can do little about it anyway, so lets focus on something we can impact.

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while that is true as a first principle, not all challenges will “probably” have an equal likelihood of success. Also, as a scientific approach, I’d consider “current knowledge” as the null, and the burden is on the challengers to prove an alternate hypothesis. Consider “gravity” or “speed of light” as examples.

Now, of course, the A part of GW is not on that level, and I’m not suggesting that it is. So some skepticism is of course warranted. But I’d be skeptical in both directions. To the AGW preachers, I’d say “prove it”; to the AGW deniers, I’d say “how do you know that there isn’t”? (can’t say “prove it” to them, cuz can’t ask them to prove a negative). However, even lacking a definitive answer, you have to behave as though there is some type of answer, no matter how imperfect. So I go with ‘on the balance of probabilities, I’m inclined to think AGW is a thing, and that trying to find a solution/alternatives/answer is a worthy exercise’. Of course, that still leaves all the much more difficult bits ahead.

As for hurricanes, I don’t think “deadliness” is much of a metric. Most of the top spots predate any sort of weather forecasting, prediction, or tracking, as well as any of the modern mitigation strategies. So do modern hurricanes seem less “deadly” cuz they are (whatever that means), or simply because we know to get people out of the way before the bad ones hit?

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I agree with this.

Consider smoking. Proven to be harmful to most people (Philip Morris types excepted). Most people have accepted that. Governments intervened with rules and taxes. And over a course of decades, smoking rates have declined.

Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States | CDC)%20in%202020.

Although even here, you could argue that more of a drop would have been expected. Of course, there is the “addiction” component that serves as a drag on behavior change.

Not All Americans Are Smoking Less | PRB.

Even with solid scientific consensus, general public buy-in, AND government manipulation, change took decades and has arguably been less successful than hoped. So on AGW (and perhaps a comparable addiction to fossil fuels, in some regards), we are nowhere.

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That’s the point of the skeptic. Continuing to consume fossil fuels at an increasing rate probably has negative consequences on the environment, it would be naive to think it does not. Is there overwhelming evidence that if I curtail my consumption of fossil fuels that I will have a positive impact on the climate? I think not. Therefore I will not go out of my way to use fossil fuels indiscriminately, but I’m not going to swap my car for a bicycle either.
If the AGW preachers can provide me with overwhelming evidence that I can make a difference, I will reconsider my position.

My position on this issues is slightly different to yours. Instead of a balance of probability or popularity approach, mine is “so you expect me to take some sort of action that I would not have taken without this initiative”. Provide evidence that my action will make a difference, otherwise get out of my way.

Examples not in the same league. I chose not to step off a high building and try to float to the ground. Your overwhelming evidence suggests that this might prove to be a bad idea.

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This encapsulates my concern too: the solutions advanced in the west have a political feel to them: anything but nuclear. My other main concern is the alarmist/catastrophe language and how it has permeated society; most people don’t want to engage with the science but hear that the world is going to hell if we don’t do something now, but we can’t use the most scalable non-hydro technology we have to achieve this, because that would add another circle of hell. I don’t quite understand the psyche of an alarmist or what their goals are.

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Dolphins certainly do get around :grinning:.

Damned right we do. It’s One Ocean and if the country has a coastline, we’re there.