Monday, October 22, 2012

The Real Game Changer

Ethon came flying in dressed in handsome feathers with a watch fob he had snatched from the still smoldering Lord Monckton, smoked Monckton being a special delicacy, even Eli was full of anticipation for the upcoming picnic.  Now some, not Eli to be sure, are worried that the feast will be cancelled on account of supercilliousness, but tickets may still be available.

Still, while playing with a bag of wind is sport, to return to the subject at hand, Eli was surprised to see the big bird, especially so well decked out given the politics.  Pickings had been slim in the usual places, with his favorite food groups retreating into well deserved irrelevance and threats of defunding hang in the air.

Flashing a roll, Ethon pointed out that there are guys with more money than Exxon, the re-insurers, who are scared to death of climate change risk. For those who don't know, the re-insurers are the rather large moneybags who take the lay off from the scardy cat insurance companies.  They think in millions and are worth billions.  You don't buy flight insurance from them, but the airline will buy insurance against the loss of a plane and the payouts therefrom from them.If, for example, Exxon, or BP want to drill a well and insure against damage from a blow out, they are the guys who are willing to take the risks for a rather large amount of money.

Re-insurers are less in the habit of losing money than insurance companies and obsessed with quantifying risk, because when they lose, they lose big.  Names that the bunnies may have heard include Munich Re, Swiss Re, Lloyds of London.  They have a stable of risk modelers to help.  It has been remarked upon that the risk modelers are chumming up with a number of climate scientists like Kerry Emanuel, because, among other things, the reinsurers see climate risk as the threat to their business, emphasis on the.  Among other things, they know that they can be left holding the bag when the fossil fuel industry is sued for culpable negligence.

Joe Romm has a summary of a new report from Munich Re, and Eli has the video above.

The usual suspect is fighting a rear guard action, but if you want a thrill take a look at this

and remind the lady bunnies that thunderstorms are the harbingers of tornados. Andy Revkin might want to drop the lip lock on his usual source and look at the new Munich Re report.  The usual source, is, of course trying to shut the noise out, those thunderstorms are loud.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Lumpus Spookytooth, phd.

Clearly, global warming has caused more frequent and intense lightning strikes. How did you guys forget about this one?

Jeffrey Davis said...

(this is in response to a misplaced comment in the resignation thread)

The connection of frequency of hurricanes and AGW is an open one. Hurricanes formation is a tricky process that involves multiple factors. Sea surface temperatures aren't the only issue. Wind shear. Temperature gradients. Dust. All these things have a part.

It was postulated back in 2007 that hurricane numbers may decline despite a rise in SSTs. Pielke hasn't done a thorough review of the literature. Unless he has chosen to ignore inconvenient studies. Pielke wouldn't do that, would he?

David B. Benson said...

Jeffrey Davis --- I'm sure you already know the answer.

Anonymous said...

Roger Pielke Junior sure does like to lie with facts:

Keep your eye on the pea folks, Roger is at the table ;)

1) "What we found may surprise you: Over the past six decades, tornado damage has declined after accounting for development that has put more property into harm's way."

The "adjusted damages" gambit is growing tiresome. Roger's preferred "metric" it is not the same as counting actual number of severe thunderstorm events, or the area affected by such events. Also, Roger ignores the fact that building codes, warning lead times and the accuracy of warnings issued by the NWS/SPC have improved dramatically since 1950.

2) "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded earlier this year that over the long-term, damage from extreme events has not been attributed to climate change, whether from natural or human causes."

Astute bunnies might also want to carefully check this claim made by Roger. I'll get the ball rolling from Page 7 of SREX (The IPCC document that Roger cherry picks from):

"Observed changes in climate extremes reflect the influence of anthropogenic climate change in addition to natural climate variability, with changes in exposure and vulnerability influenced by both climatic and non- climatic factors."

Not quite the same as the little white lie told to the media by Roger now...

From page 9 in SREX:

"There is evidence that some extremes have changed as a result of anthropogenic influences, including increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale. There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level.

Also on page 9:

"Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded (high agreement, medium evidence). These conclusions are subject to a number of limitations in studies to date. Vulnerability is a key factor in disaster losses, yet it is not well accounted for. Other limitations are: (i) data availability, as most data are available for standard economic sectors in developed countries; and (ii) type of hazards studied, as most studies focus on cyclones, where confidence in observed trends and attribution of changes to human influence is low. The second conclusion is subject to additional limitations: (iii) the processes used to adjust loss data over time, and (iv) record length."

Anonymous said...


3) "Remarkably, the U.S. is currently experiencing the longest-ever recorded period with no strikes of a Category 3 or stronger hurricane."

This is a cheap strawman argument, Roger needs to up his game. To totally avoids the issue at hand and is so asinine that it really is not worth addressing.

"The major 2012 drought obscures the fact that the U.S. has seen a decline in drought over the past century."

Now Roger is skating on very thin ice, oops it just cracked. He really, really needs to pay attention to the "Climate Extremes Index" (aka CEI). See here for the PDSI (a measure of how wet or dry conditions are):

That shows that since the early seventies the area int he Contiguous USA affected by drought has increased . Concurrently, the area affected by much-above normal PDSI has plateaued.

So Pielke's claim that drought is on the decline is demonstrably false.

Also, the number of heavy daily rainfall extremes has increased, consistent with a more vigorous hydrological cycle operating on a strong steroid (increase water vapour thanks to the Clausius-Clapeyron relation):

Yet Roger Pielke Junior is so deluded as to hop around accusing others of lying.

Take a look in the mirror Roger.