Does extreme weather make the CO2 law nonsensical?


At least that’s what you might think, if you believe a post in the Facebook group “Referendum against the CO2 law”. There, reference is made to an article in the Basler Zeitung, which reports how temperatures in Denver (Colorado) fell from 33 to 3 degrees Celsius in one day.

Now one might object that Denver lies 1,600 metres high in the prairie open to the north towards the Arctic Circle, which might explain a lot. Whether a single event is normal or caused by climate change is as hard to say as whether a dice roll is normal or a 6 is hooked when a 6 is rolled. The situation is different if a lot of 6s are thrown at once. Any normal person would then recognise this as an indication of a loaded dice. Why do some people find it so difficult to recognise these connections in climate change?

“The accumulation of weather extremes in the last decade is no coincidence,” writes the scientific magazine Scinexx, “as scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have now proven. At least in the case of extreme rainfall and extreme heat waves, the connection with man-made global warming is clear, the scientists report in the journal “Nature Climate Change”. In contrast, the connection is less clear for storms, despite the observed increase in the strength of hurricanes. (Source from Scinexx: Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1452)

He continues: “The researchers base their analysis on three pillars: elementary physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations. Even basic physical principles suggest that the warming of the atmosphere leads to more extremes. Warm air can hold more moisture until it suddenly rains. Secondly, statistically, clear trends could be found in the temperature and precipitation data, as the researchers explain. And thirdly, detailed computer simulations also confirm the correlation between warming and records for temperature and precipitation”. – In total, three different methods have thus led to the same result.

The weather crackles in Denver fit very well with the climate models that have so far correctly calculated climate change and provide realistic forecasts for the future.

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