Extreme Weather and Climate Change: Uncertainty is Not Our Friend

by Duane Nichols on October 1, 2019

National Academy of Science Report

Adam Sobel Testifies on Extreme Weather and Climate Change: Uncertainty is Not Our Friend

From an Article by Marie DeNoia Aronsohn, Columbia University, September 26, 2019

Adam Sobel, founding director of Columbia University’s Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate, which is based at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, testified today before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The hearing was entitled, “Understanding, Forecasting, and Communicating Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate.”

Sobel told the assembled legislators that extreme weather is changing due to global warming. He described heat waves as the best understood type of extreme weather event, and said research linking heatwaves to global warming is substantive. “When any heat wave occurs today, it is likely that global warming made it more likely, more intense or both.”

He also conveyed science’s understanding about the way climate change is impacting the intensity and frequency of hurricanes.

“Hurricane risk is increasing due to climate change,” he said. “Storm surge-driven coastal flooding is certainly becoming worse due to sea-level rise. We know little, though, about how hurricane frequency — the total number of storms per year — changes with warming.”

While Sobel described the areas of climate science uncertainty, he was emphatic that this uncertainty is not a reason to delay action. He compared the situation to an FBI investigation where agents have inconclusive but worrying evidence about people who may be planning an attack.

“These people are having a meeting, and the FBI has managed to plant a microphone in the room, but it is noisy and the bad people are speaking quietly, making it impossible to hear what they are saying. Would we want the FBI to interpret uncertainty as meaning there’s no need to worry?” posited Sobel.

Sobel went on to advocate for continued investment in the science of extreme weather, specifically outlining the need to develop a new generation of “catastrophe models” like those used in the insurance industry to assess risks from extreme weather events, but more extensive.

>>> Adam Sobel is the author of Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future.


SEE ALSO THIS VIDEO — HEARING: Understanding, Forecasting & Communication, US House of Representatives, September 26, 2019

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admin October 31, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Subject: COP25 in Chile has been suspended: Demand a People’s Climate Summit Now

Friends and Concerned Citizens,

The Chilean Government just announced that they are suspending this year’s UN Climate Talks that were scheduled to take place in Santiago this December.

They have blamed this on the protests that have been happening in the country’s streets for the past few weeks. But instead of derailing it, the protests get at the very heart of what global climate talks should be addressing: the huge and expanding gap between the rich and poor, the fact that so many people are denied their basic rights, and an economy that prioritizes big business and polluters over the needs of everyday people.

Inequality fuels the climate crisis, which fuels inequality. It’s a vicious circle that must be broken.

Today more than ever, what we need is a People’s Climate Summit. Call on the UN to kick the polluters out of the climate talks and give them back to the people.

The only ones celebrating this decision are the big polluters. For far too long, governments have put the voices of big business and polluters above those of everyday people in decisions on climate. So we have an official climate agreement — but it doesn’t guarantee support for people being harmed by climate change or even mention the word “fossil fuels”.

The UN should kick the fossil fuel industry out of the climate talks and make more space for the voices of the people. Only then can we begin to develop real solutions to this joint crisis of inequality, injustice, and the climate emergency.

Ask the UN to hold a People’s Climate Summit now.

In solidarity with those fighting for justice and social change in Chile and around the world,

Monica Davies and the 350.org team

Reply-To: 350@350.org


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