The rise of Climate superstition: Droughts, heatwaves, random noise is “proof” of anything you like

Show me the error bars

Once upon a time a scientist talked about thirty year trends and anachronistic things like “confidence intervals”. Now, thanks to the discovery of Unscience, any noisy, random short data is fair game to be declared undeniable climate change. Periods of flooding also qualify, as do periods of nice weather, though strangely no one mentions those. Where are the headlines? If climate change caused drought on the East Coast of Australia, it’s also causing average rain and good crops in Western Australia.

In terms of scientific data analysis we don’t get that many droughts or six-day-August-heatwaves to analyze. They’re complex phenomena caused by multiple factors and we only have short records. This makes them ideal to be oversold to hapless folk as a “sign” of climate change.

When we have data, we find global droughts haven’t changed much in the last 60 years. When we can scratch together longer proxies, we find that 1000 year rainfall studies show droughts and floods used to be longer and worse.  In Europe and the US megadroughts happened in the last 2,000 years. The droughts of 1315, or 1540, etc, weren’t due to our SUV’s. In Australia there were eight […]

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August 6, 2018 at 09:22AM

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