It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes,
tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States
or globally. It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the
emission of greenhouse gases.
Globally, weather-related losses ($) have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP
(they have actually decreased by about 25%) and insured catastrophe losses have not
increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.
Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since
at least 1900. The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970 (when data
allows for a global perspective).
Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950. Flood losses
as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75% since 1940.
Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and
there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.
Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of
the U. S. over the last century.” Globally, “there has been little change in drought over the
past 60 years.”
The absolute costs of disasters will increase significantly in coming years due to greater
wealth and populations in locations exposed to extremes. Consequent, disasters will continue
to be an important focus of policy, irrespective of the exact future course of climate change."
Roger goes on to clarify his overall position:
Humans influence the climate system in profound ways, including through the emission of
carbon dioxide via the combustion of fossil fuels.
Researchers have detected and (in some cases) attributed a human influence in other
measures of climate extremes beyond those discussed in this testimony, including surface
temperatures and precipitation.
The inability to detect and attribute changes in hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and drought does
not mean that human-caused climate change is not real or of concern.
It does mean however that some activists, politicians, journalists, corporate and government
agency representatives and even scientists who should know better have made claims that are
unsupportable based on evidence and research.
The entirety of his testimony is here.
Roger and I are in complete agreement that there is no evidence, at this time, that storms are getting worse and there is little or no evidence drought is getting worse.
I do believe winters are shorter, nighttime temperatures warmer, and growing seasons longer. Climate science has shown virtually no skill at being able to forecast world temperatures even five years into the future, so their forecasts for five decades should be looked at with skepticism.
I'll have more on the Senate testimony tomorrow morning.