2011-01-23 16:23:45Anyone want to take Monckton's extreme weather comments? John?
Dana Nuccitelli

Monckton's points #12-22 have to do with extreme weather events.  We could probably take care of most or all of them with one post about how global warming is making extreme weather more likely.  A lot of the examples are about Australia, so maybe John could do something about this, given his recent experience with and writing about the Queensland floods?

We won't need to publish this one until late next week, by the way.

2011-01-23 16:53:27Some papers
Julian Brimelow

Hi John and Dana,

Not sure if it will help or even be relevant, but I posted quite a few links to recent papers on the latest ClimateShow thread. 


Munich Re also have recently released a statement in which they quantify the dramatic increase in weather-related claims versus other natural disasters. Pielke Jnr tried to suggest they had a vested interest though, so that may be an angle of attack that needs to be countered.

Their press release is here:


My take is if Munich Re are allegedly fudging the numbers or that they have a vested interest as Piekle Jnr is suggesting, why would they do so to only the weather-related numbers?He is probably just engaging in innuendo and dog-whistle politics.

More here:


2011-01-23 19:14:42


I would be skeptic if there were no other evidence than Munich Re numbers. In reality, it's only a differnt point of view, the one of those who think at the health of the insurance market in the future; thier interest is to take the lowest possibile risk when they re-insure insurance company. A vested interest, like that of the Heartland Insititute, Cato, SPPI. But Munch Re put its own money in the Desertec project, not in a PR campaign to do nothing and denigrate scientists.

2011-01-24 10:15:41Yes, I'll do extreme weather
John Cook

So my question - what # is that? Eg - what's Monckton Myth #8, #9, #10?
2011-01-24 14:51:44#9
Dana Nuccitelli
Snowjob is #7, then we got sea level as #8.  So extreme weather would be #9.
2011-01-25 05:12:30More evidence needed
Julian Brimelow



"I would be skeptic if there were no other evidence than Munich Re numbers"

I agree, I am just not sure where to find a reliable and reputable source which states that insurance costs from weather -related disasters have increased.  There is more going on her than meets the eye, more people can probably afford insurance nowadays etc.  However, what struck me is Munch Re's claims that weather -related costs have been increasing much more rapidly than other natural disasters.  I cannot think of any changes in demographics or wealth that would explain that discrepancy. That trend noted by Munich Re is, however, consistent with the research that I referred John to...but I am very wary of confirmation bias-- it fits but soe sit fit for the right reasons?

Anyhow, I agree such comments on costs of extreme weather would need to be robust and carefully worded.  People like Pielke Jnr are very good at spinning and obfuscating.


I really like this line from the Huntington et al paper (2006):

"The lack of detectable trends in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms during the 20th century should not be taken as evidence that further warming will not lead to such changes in the future, particularly as the rate of warming in the 21st century is expected to be several times greater than in the 20th century (Cubasch and Meehl, 2001)."


People like Monckton like to try and deceive everyone into thinking that all these changes should be happening now, or worse yet should already have been happening-- that is scenarios for circa 2100 should already in place.  Conflating the two is disingenuous and designed to confuse and mislead.

 Regardless, recent research by Allan et al (2010) has found the following over the tropics:

 "The SSM/I data indicate an increased frequency of the heaviest events with warming, several times larger than the expected Clausius–Clapeyron scaling and at the upper limit of the substantial range in responses in the model simulations."


Just found this paper today, only one site, but the physics apply elsewhere:

Lenderink and Meijgaard (2008, Nature) [http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n8/abs/ngeo262.html]

"Here, we analyse a 99-year record of hourly precipitation observations from De Bilt, the Netherlands, and find that one-hour precipitation extremes increase twice as fast with rising temperatures as expected from the Clausius–Clapeyron relation when daily mean temperatures exceed 12 °C"

 The message from the data is pretty robust and clear, warming appears to be increasing the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events. 

2011-01-25 05:58:00
Rob Painting
Alby, have you read Milly 2002, Increasing risk of great floods in a changing climate?.
2011-01-25 06:22:58

I didn't mean that the increased costs due to weather events claimed by Munich Re is a good indicator. Costs matter to insurance companies, governments and people affected; number and strength of events matter to scientists. It's probably for this reason that they often refer to the number of weather-related events.
We should surely focus on the science. It's problematic, though; variability is much worse than in the temperature record and as far as I know there's no strong (statistically significant) evidence on any phenomenon, apart from the record extreme temperatures.
Our strength is that the known physics points to more extreme events and there are indications that it's really happening. Skeptics can only object that there's still no evidence, but this is a rather weak point.
Skeptics have now lost their scientific battle on many fronts. I think that extreme events and ocean heat content will be the next battlegrounds, the former being the hardest.
2011-01-25 06:35:09
Julian Brimelow

Hi Riccardo,

Thanks for clarifying.  I agree.  They certainly do seem to be working the OHC angle hard nowadays, unfortunate that the data are not yet reliable, and splicing the XBT data to the ARGO data has its own issues.  I wonder whether or not they calc. OHC in the reanalysis products?  Anyone know? Hmm, that would be neat to look at....

Regarding the precip. it would be nice to see a probability density function (PDF) of the rainfall intensities, because the annual global mean intensity does not tell one very much. If that can be shown to have a significant shift towards higher rates (i.e., in the tails), then to me that would be very compelling.  Anyhpw, this is all just musing and probably not very helpful.

I need to go and read what Monckton actually claimed about extremes in this particular case.


"We should surely focus on the science."

Not sure how I feel about that in this instance.  Yes, of course, but there could be valuable information int he insurance claim data if it is analyzed properly...and therein lies the problem.

2011-01-25 06:43:40
Julian Brimelow



Thanks.  No, I am not familiar with Milly 2002. I'll have a look.  Ohh, found it, I'm assuming that you mean this one?




Only problem with that paper is the modelling component-- you know the "skeptics" will attack that.  With that said, Milly et al's findings seem compelling, and is yet another source which is consistent with the hypothesis of increased extreme precipitation events in a warming world. Funny how the science keep arriving at a coherent picture ;)  Sad observation about human nature that is all that is needed to undermine the science is a single fallacious statement.  Monckton et al. really have chosen the easy way have they not?