A good scientist, who also believes in global warming, explains the irrelevance of “extreme weather” to the climate change debate.
Yet [an increase in extreme weather] is not supported by science. “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in the literature but seem to abound in the popular media,” climate scientist Gavin Smith of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies said last month. “It’s this popular perception that global warming means all extremes have to increase all the time, even though if anyone thinks about that for 10 seconds they realize that’s nonsense.”
The scientist writing this op-ed is Bjorn Lomborg. He gives a lot of details. Here’s just one:
Global warming, in general, will mean higher temperatures. This causes more heat waves — more extreme weather. But it also causes fewer cold waves — less extreme weather. Many more people die from excessive cold than excessive heat, so fewer people will die from cold and heat in the future. By mid-century, researchers estimated in 2006, that means about 1.4 million fewer deaths per year. In the continental United States, heat waves in the past decade exceeded the norm by 10 percent, but the number of cold waves fell 75 percent.
Moreover, global warming will mostly increase temperatures during winter, at night and in cold places, making temperature differences less extreme.