Risk from natural hazards is distributed along more of a continuum, and definitions are technically complex. Even more fundamentally, hooke said, phrases like "act of god" invite passivity. As for the long-running political controversy about climate change, especially about the degree to which human activity causes it, the scientists said it tends to become relevant mainly when they are dealing with long time frames — say 30 years or more — and mostly. Down where the rubber meets the road, and when dealing with more immediate concerns - they said, this debate is not a big "driver.". What works best is not "flogging non-scientists with the facts hooke said. It's more effective to find a project that brings people together to reduce a specific risk.
Extreme Storms, storm and Storm Chasing
There are reasons for optimism, the panel members said, as they see key players learning from events and increasingly thinking "outside the box." For example, linkin described a project called "Resilient Cities launched by the rockefeller foundation, with support from the Clinton Global Initiative, swiss. It is experimenting with financing mechanisms to provide volunteer participants with technical support and other resources to improve their infrastructure and public services. These cities ideally would then become models for more widespread adaptation. Other measures the panel members favored included: The establishment of risk-based pricing for national flood insurance. Allowances need to be made for low-income, long-time home owners in vulnerable locations whose homes would rapidly lose their value but in the case of the well off, as nielsen-Gammon put it, "let the people who actually choose the risk pay the price.". A "resilience star" program to promote individual preparedness (similar to the "energy star" program that encourages homeowners to buy efficient qualitative products). Experiments with this approach are underway. Changes in individual attitudes, including something as basic as peer pressure. Just as society stigmatizes a parent who fails to fasten a child's seat belt properly, for example, hooke said, it could stigmatize "letting your kids go to sleep in a flood plain" without prudent protections. This attitude adjustment should also include upgrades in our terminology, the panel said. For example, experts should eliminate references to "the hundred-year storm" or the "fifty-year storm which can be misleading.
"so you can say, okay, we're prepared for big storms, but not for the bigger storm surge due to sea level rise. the problem is exceedingly complex and the uncertainties are numerous and "broadening the panel members agreed, especially given that no one knows what strategies society will adopt or how the climate will respond in turn. For shredder example, hooke said, the experts "didn't exactly forecast that a tsunami in Japan would bring about the end of nuclear power in Germany which began closing its plants following the fukushima disaster. For governments, linkin said, the short-term costs of action tend to outweigh the long-term costs of inaction. An elected official gets no credit if he buys insurance against a disaster that fails to materialize during his limited time in office. However, insurers in some cases - she cited her company's work with New York city - have leverage to encourage communities to take simple preparedness measures in order to reduce the cost of any insurance they do buy. In Texas, nielsen-Gammon said, the drought lasted long enough compared to the legislative cycle that lawmakers took money from a fund "paradoxically called the 'rainy day fund to pay for new reservoirs, treatment facilities, conservation promotion and the like. A now-defunct but "hugely popular" federal program called Project Impact offers a useful model for how communities might prepare for natural hazards, according to bill hooke of the American Meteorological Society.
A worst-case hurricane has not targeted this coast, she said, since a hurricane thought to be the equivalent of a modern-day category 4 struck massachusetts essays in 1635. With a changing global climate, the panel members said, what seem to be abnormally frequent, intense or otherwise extreme weather phenomena may become the new "normal" at the same time that humans, expanding to populate more geographical nooks and crannies, become increasingly vulnerable to these. Of course, communities must weigh costs against benefits. Moderator david Kestenbaum of National Public Radio, a physicist, pointed out that, because society cannot afford to prepare for all the worst case scenarios, there must be trade-offs. "Prove to me we're underprepared he challenged the speakers. "Where do you draw the line?". It's important to remember, linkin responded, that we are adapted to the climate we have, not the altered climate of the future.
Texas State Climatologist John nielsen-Gammon, whose state is suffering a prolonged drought, said that one of the most important problems he has seen is a mindset that limits local planners to consideration only of their own experiences and not the bigger picture, in part because. "Their model was basically if it happened here before, it might happen again." They tended not to plan for events that have happened elsewhere and might yet happen to them. One result, he said, was a kind of "roulette" in handling the water supply. The gathering was the second of three in the annual ". Science and Society: Global Challenges " series sponsored by georgetown University Science in the public Interest, aaas and the American Chemical Society. It took place on 28 October, the eve of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane sandy's deadly rampage through northeast coastal communities and just two weeks before the record-shattering Typhoon haiyan laid waste to swaths of the Philippines, killing thousands. Megan Linkin, a meteorologist who assesses risks for the reinsurance company Swiss re, told the audience that Sandy was "the seminal event" that "made me realize how vulnerable we are." The storm was not even a major hurricane by the time it struck, but.
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Society could benefit greatly by resume taking the same approach to natural hazards as that taken by the aviation industry toward air disasters, which means "learning from experience he said. For instance, if a wing falls off a plane, the official reaction is that "this must never happen again. by contrast, when it comes to floods, hurricanes and the like, in large part because of people's very profound connection with the places and circumstances in which we live, "we say we're going to rebuild like before, and make sure our grandchildren suffer just. Climate Change and the single superstorm. With winds over a punishing 300 kilometers per hour, typhoon haiyan, which ravaged the Philippines in early november, was the most powerful recorded cyclone that made landfall. At the United Nations climate talks shortly afterwards, the Philippines' representative, naderev "Yeb" Sano, connected human-induced climate change and the devastating storm, making an emotional appeal for countries to "stop this madness" and take action against global warming. But, how strong is the connection between climate change and the strength of individual storms like haiyan or Hurricane sandy?
For climate scientists, making such connections is "risky territory journalist Richard Kerr reported in the 8 november issue. "There is no question that global warming is real, but the science linking any one hurricane, drought, or flood to climate change is shaky, at best and researchers have not found compelling evidence that global warming boosted the strength of Hurricane sandy, kerr wrote. September's massive assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc) found only "low confidence" that intense tropical cyclone activity had increased measurably since 1950, according. However, the ipcc has found that, "more likely than not global warming will drive an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific and North Atlantic by late in this century. Kathy Wren, from left to right, moderator david Kestenbaum with Megan Linkin, john nielsen-Gammon and Bill hooke.
Weather events like tornadoes, floods, droughts etc may be increasing as a result of global warming, but they don't cause global warming. Vast forest fires, where trees are burned, release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that was being stored in the trees. This can put a burden on the carbon cycle, which moves carbon out of the atmosphere and back into oceans, soil, trees and animals, but fires are generally regarded as part of the balance of the carbon cycle, where vegetation absorbs and stores carbon, then. Sandbags on Water. Flickr, ritahogan, extreme weather: everybody talks about it, but human nature often gets in the way of our doing something about.
This was the consensus among scientists who participated in a discussion about "Building Resilience to Extreme weather at the aaas headquarters auditorium in downtown Washington,. Scientists, engineers and others who study extreme weather have proposed numerous ways to reduce the suffering and damage inflicted by hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, deluges, droughts and such. Obstacles to implementing these measures often arise because peoples' perspectives are short-term and localized, while nature's patterns are vastly longer-term and global, the speakers said. Weather extremes actually "are tremendously valuable, and make the planet more, not less, liveable said Bill hooke, director of the policy Program at the American Meteorological Society. Big storms assist in crucial heat transport between the equator and poles, and hurricanes provide rainfall vital to human survival, he said. "It's just our social accommodations such as building codes, "that aren't working out so well Disasters are a socially-caused phenomenon.".
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For the Obama administration, it is not too late to guaranteed recover "to restore science to its rightful place as the phrase goes. But this means relying upon institutions of scientific advice for evidence, rather than on political campaigners or error-strewn media reports. It shouldn't be a difficult choice. For those interested in both scientific integrity and action best on climate change, the issue of extreme weather provides a useful case for thinking about institutions of scientific advice. Are they only useful when the results are politically convenient? roger pielke jr is professor of environmental studies in the centre for Science and Technology policy research at the University of Colorado). Natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, droughts etc) do not create climate changes.
However, in cases nurse where evidence matters in policy making, decision makers need a way to separate the reliable from the hyperbole. The ipcc, despite the fact that it has made some missteps in the past, is exactly the sort of institution for providing scientific advice to help evaluate conflicting and uncertain empirical claims. In the case of loss and damage from extreme events, the evidence is extremely strong. There is at present no evidentiary basis to support demands for reparations. That may change in the future, but the ipcc's recent assessments are an accurate reflection of where the science is today. Disasters are important because people die and economies are disrupted. Abandoning the conclusions of the institution that we depend upon to evaluate evidence in climate science for policy making in this context may be politically popular in some circles. However, ignoring that evidence is unlikely to help us arrive at solutions that will improve future outcomes related to disasters, which will only get worse as global population and wealth continue to grow, and will be exacerbated if climate extremes become more frequent or intense.
and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen, were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science." According to the ipcc, only one of these claims is correct we have indeed seen more heat waves. With the president implying us responsibility for weather disasters, it should be no surprise that developing nations are taking him at his word and are asking for compensation. And the Obama administration is not being helped by its supporters. For instance, jeffrey sachs, director of the columbia earth Institute, tweeted in the aftermath of Super Typhoon haiyan that: "Climate liars like rupert Murdoch koch Brothers have more more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across world." Similarly, a senior fellow. More prominently, sunday's New York times included a 1,500-word, front page article on the issue of climate "compensation", citing Philippine and Indian typhoons, as well as African drought, as indicative of "possible consequences of climate change that have surged". It went on to suggest that "the current global turbulence, consistent with what scientists expect to happen as the climate changes, is already taking a toll". None of these examples referenced the conclusions of the ipcc's recent reports on extreme events, and the incorrect claims of the new York times were made without any supporting evidence or attribution. That politicians, academics or journalists express outlier or even incorrect views is usually not problematic: both science and democracy are self-correcting, and challenging ideas helps to make them stronger.
Its report issued last month found little evidence to support claims that tropical cyclones (that is, hurricanes and typhoons floods, drought, winter storms or tornadoes had become more frequent or intense. In the western Pacific, where haiyan occurred, in addition to a summary decreasing number of landfalls, the strongest storms have actually become weaker in recent decades, according to a recent analysis. More to the point, a 2012 ipcc special report focused on extreme events and concluded that "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". In other words, if changes in climate whether due to human or other influences are influencing the rising costs of disasters, we can't detect that influence in the data. Yet, despite the ipcc's findings, the issue of compensation for historic emissions has continued to gain traction in the international community. The Obama administration is right to be concerned about this issue because it risks derailing discussions about energy policies, and wider actions to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters that might actually prove effective in the context of the very real threats posed by climate change. Yet partial responsibility for the emergence of a debate on historical reparations lies squarely with President Obama.
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The proposal, advanced by the G77 plus China, that the us and other nations should pay tens or even hundreds of proposal billions of dollars to poor countries that suffer disasters, is a central theme of the climate negotiations now taking place in Warsaw, poland. It's an idea that has been made more tangible by the tragic loss of life and devastation in the Philippines caused by super typhoon haiyan, one of the most powerful observed storms of recent decades. This disaster in the Philippines is part of a long-term trend of increasing damage resulting from extreme weather events around the world. The us has already provided 6bn to developing countries in "climate finance" over the past two years and has committed to spend more. In light of the demands for even more money in the form of climate reparations, last week a leaked us diplomatic cable expressed the Obama administration's concern that poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and. In principle, this debate should be a short one. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc) has recently issued two major assessments on extreme weather.