Attention Meteorologists and Climatologists

Suppose you were in this crash...
And, while the paramedics were putting the seriously injured you into the ambulance, an attorney ran up and tried to shove a business card into your (broken) hand and started to explain all the grounds you had for a lawsuit: improperly maintained road, poorly designed air bags, et cetera. Would you appreciate the attorney's actions?

Now, let's assume that, instead of an attorney, it was a meteorologist who ran up to you on your gurney and told you all of the ways that climate change contributed to the accident. Do you think he would win any friends? Or, would it be better to wait until the crisis was over?

During yesterday's fatal flash flood in Dallas, a number of meteorologists began tweeting about the alleged relationship between global warming and the flash flood -- even as, simultaneously, news reports were explaining that people were being pulled out of cars. 

To me, these are mildly unseemly, not because of their message, but because of their timing. It is similar to the ambulance chasing attorney. While the event is in progress, the focus by meteorologists should be accurate warnings and followups and, by everyone else, getting those needing rescue and medical attention taken care of. 

This is especially true since a correlation between global warming and more flash floods is not accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is considered the "gold standard" on the topic. 

IPCC’s 2022 report says in its "North America" section (p 1938):

Observed trends in extreme precipitation events are more difficult to detect with confidence, because the natural variability of precipitation is so large and the observational database is limited. 

They even highlight the above in yellow. You can find the entire section here.  

The U.S. National Climate Assessment comes to a similar conclusion:

However, in U.S. regions, no formal attribution of precipitation changes to anthropogenic forcing has been made so far, so indirect attribution of flooding changes is not possible. Hence, no formal attribution of observed flooding changes to anthropogenic forcing has been claimed. [bold type theirs]

Finally, per Dr. Roger Pielke Junior's peer-reviewed work, U.S. flood damages are a tiny fraction of what they were eight decades ago when measured against the U.S. gross national product. 

Since the hypothesis that climate change has increased flash floods is not accepted, it is hard to understand what weather scientists accomplish by the "rush to tweet" while these events are in progress. I strongly recommend we cease doing it. 

To be clear, I do not object to a scientific discussion after the event is over, even if the science is not generally accepted. That is how science advances. But, I believe we should stop with the rush to tweet while hydro-meteorological disasters are in progress. 


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