Statistician Analyzes "Climate Change Makes Hurricanes Worse" Claim


1 year ago




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So the real challenge here is how do we find a way that means the vast amount, so the 6.5 billion people who are not rich can actually get a great living by the end of the century and we can also fix climate change. And that's only going to happen if we find the technological breakthroughs, not by telling everyone, I'm sorry, could you do with less? Not only is that not going to win any elections in the long run, but it's also just not going to be possible to convince China, India, Africa to do that. Now what about the impact on climate change and natural storms? Hurricanes and the like, how much are they increasing? How much is the severity of them increasing? Because that's a big point of confusion for people. I've heard multiple people say that those storms are worse than ever and more frequent than ever and then I've heard people say, no, they're actually less frequent than ever but stronger. I've even heard people say, no, no, no, they're more frequent and less strong. So I don't know what's going on. So the biggest point on this I think is they're certainly much stronger on TV. I mean, you hear much, much more about them because they're such great stories. Yeah, they absolutely sell. But if you actually look at the data, we cannot tell right now. So that's the conclusion from the government agencies of the US as well. We can't still tell that there's a fingerprint from climate change on hurricanes. We can't? No, we can't. Why can't we? Because there's such a natural variability that you can't see, oh, this increase or this decrease is because of global warming. Is there an increased trend currently? Well, so in the 1960s, sorry, in the 1970s and 80s, there was a lull in hurricanes that hit the US. That was also when satellite coverage started. So much of what you see now is if you start from the 1970s and 1980s, there is an increase for the US. But that's probably spurious because if you go back in the 1950s and 1960s, there was actually just as many hurricanes. So what you do, and this is by far the best estimate. So I actually have that. I brought that with me. If you take a look at slide four in the A file, there we see if you look at the number of hurricanes that have hit the US, because remember, we don't know about the hurricanes that we couldn't see back when we didn't have satellites. Now we see them because we have satellites, but that's obviously the wrong way to count. So if you just look at the hurricanes that land fall on the US, you get this graph. So this is from 1900 to 2022. Yeah. So 2022 is obviously not done, but it's probably done. And it looks incredibly similar. It's actually slightly decreasing. This is not significant. Slightly decreasing from 2008. Sorry. No, from 2004 rather. If you try to put in the best line, as you can see, that's the dotted red line, you actually have slightly decreasing lines. Oh, I see. The overall, the average. The overall average used to be more like two hurricanes per season, and that's down to 1.6 or something. Sorry. What the hell was going on in 1980? It looks like 86. Yeah. Yeah. I was going to pull up it. This is a contradicting chart though. Okay. Hit me with it. It specifies though North Atlantic, which this does not. Okay. So North Atlantic is where the predominant amount of hurricanes exist in the United States. Is that correct? It's South Atlantic. It's South Atlantic, so North Atlantic would have less of them because the water's colder. Northern hemisphere, I believe, is not North compared to the United States. It's North for South Hemisphere. Oh, okay. Okay. Why Atlantic hurricanes are getting stronger faster than other storms? So Hurricane Ian, doo, doo, doo. 264% since 1980 compared to the globe, according to this chart. Yes. Percentage of tropical cyclone activity with major intensity. So major intensity indicates that sustained wind speeds reach a category three level or higher. So it seems like there's more of them. Yes. And notice what that happens. It starts in 1980. And that's why when you do these numbers, it's very easy to get this result if you start in 1980 when they were much lower. If I can just show you the other graph again, because I showed you for all of the hurricanes, but we also have, if you take the next slide, that's just a strong hurricane. So that's exactly the same as what you just showed, category three and higher. And what you see here again is that there are fewer hurricanes, not more hurricanes, hitting the US today than they used to be back in the early part of... Is this saying there's only one per year or... Yes. That doesn't feel like that's right though. This is one major hurricane land falling each year. Yeah. Is that usually what we get? And so if you go all the way back to 2006, which is that year we were talking about, it looks like there was four. So from 80... So when you're looking at that major... That was 2005. That was Hurricane Katrina and all these others. Okay. So when you're looking at that other chart that shows the increase from 1980, see with 1980, it's just all those years, it's just one. And then it gets up to four in 2006. And that's a rough year. That factors into the average and that kicks the average up to 264%, but a lot of it is from 2006. And a lot of it is because you just go from a period when there was a relative lull to a period when it's back up. On these charts, what is it differentiating as major or not major? Because then we get to like, we almost got through all the names I thought a couple of years ago. So yes, sorry. So major is category three, but these all land falling. Remember a lot of hurricanes are not land falling. So the reason why we run out of names is because we are able to see a lot more of them. So they actually estimate... There's this reanalysis by Noah and all those guys. So they actually found that we now name about four storms more than we would have named in the early 2000s every year because we've just become better at notice. Oh, there was a hurricane and then it dropped off. Right, because they don't hit. Not only because they don't hit, but typically they're just one or two days. What's the percentage of them that actually hit... The problem is like when they get strong enough on the ocean that they can carry over onto the land and devastate the land. So the reason why I'm looking at landfall is because in the early part of last century, it's very likely that someone would have noticed landfalling hurricane anywhere in the US. But if it's out in the middle of nowhere, there's a very good chance nobody would have noticed. Actually you can see in the data that when the Panama Canal opened, suddenly ships started going a different route. So there was a big part of the Atlantic that they no longer traversed. And so the number of hurricanes dropped in those areas because you needed to have sort of a ship to be out there and noticing. That's why it's a very, very bad way to look at this if you just look at how many hurricanes do we know about because we just know about a lot more now. So that's from satellite radar and that was what year they started implementing satellite? This is about 1980. 1980, okay. So that's when... Okay. So it's not clear. But your point was to basically say what people are worried about is that there's going to be a lot more hurricane. Yes. Well actually, so the best evidence seems to indicate... That was one of the points that you said that there will probably be fewer hurricanes, but they will be stronger. And overall, stronger is worse than fewer is better, which means that overall there'll be slightly more damage. So global warming is bad. That's one of the many things that will actually be worse with global warming. But it's not terribly bad. It's somewhat worse. And of course at the same time, we're getting much better at dealing with this impact. What you're actually seeing if you look at the total cost for instance on hurricane impacts and all kinds of climate impacts, it's actually going down, not up in percent of GDP. Why? Because we now know we have much better prediction. We know how to deal with these things. For instance, get a lot of stuff that can be moved. We get it out of harm's way. So every time there's a hurricane, all trucks will go to other states, that kind of thing. So there's a lot of things that don't get damaged. We can also build better, as you talked about, with houses and so on. So we have a lot of ways to reduce this. But what is happening is it'll reduce slightly less fast because of global warming. Again, not the end of the world, but a problem. So the fear mongering would have you terrified about a future that's impossible to fix and that we're doomed. You're simply saying it is a problem, but it's not our biggest problem. It's a problem in the sense that it slows down progress. Because people talk a lot about the fact that we won't have enough food either. I have another slide in the B file. And God, I need glasses. And number six. Sorry. I was just Googling this. 2020, it says 11 hurricanes made it to land. Here. Total of 11 named storms made landfall in the United States, breaking the previous record of 9 and 19. Sorry, 11 named storms or? Six of these were storms that struck the United States at hurricane intensity. They were talking about category three and above. That was just this one, though. His chart, which was this. Is it all hurricanes? This is major hurricanes. We need to go back. So category one. Which is the worst? Is category one the worst or four? Four is the worst, right? Five is the worst. This just says four hurricanes hit US and four. And then when I Google it, it says there's at least six, if not 11. Yeah. I mean, this is period literature. I have no doubt. The updates are for the guy. This is 2020, Jamie. Yeah. I just was trying to pick one year. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was all you know. That was great. And these. And the one that this was saying they're intensifying. This says that since 1950, only nine category four hurricanes have hit the mainland, but six of those were in the last five years. Whoa. That seems like a problem. That's a big problem. Doesn't that seem like a big problem? Seeing that, I would see why people would freak out. Again. And this is... So we can't sit here and do period research in real time. Right. But you do need contradicting statements. Oh, no, no, no. Absolutely. But I am saying that... So I'm happy to say that we should... So there's very little four and five hurricanes. That's why the major and that was also why the other graph showed the change in three, four and five. Can you go back to that again, please, for a second? Look at that, man. Andrew was even more powerful than Ian in 92. That was 165 mile an hour. What's the fucking strongest one that we've ever had? Is that all of them that we've had during the last... So that's the last 50 years? In the 50 years, yeah. I think it was 92. So Ian was the strongest or Andrew, excuse me, was the strongest. That was 165. Katrina's not even on this list. No. Wow. Why isn't Katrina on the list? I don't know. That was a big one, wasn't it? Yeah. Wasn't it hurricane three, category three? It could have been big and long and just lasted for a long time instead of... Right. The hurricane was big because of where it hit. Yes. Wow. That seems... Also, if you look at the major hurricanes, we had the biggest drought ever. So there were 11 years where there were no major hurricane that hit the US recently. I don't know if you noticed that was when nobody talked about hurricanes. And then of course the hurricanes came back and then we said, oh, see global warming again. This is how we're not being well served with this kind of conversation. What is your book called? False Alarm? False Alarm, yeah. No, I don't have one yet. Here. Thank you very much. I wouldn't say False Alarm. I would say there's a lot of other shit to be worried about as well. Yes. But it also seems to be a problem. That's the other book I brought here. Prioritizing Development. Yes. Ah, see. So this is basically... This is what my day job really is because as you also know and as we talked a little bit about... Look, there's a lot of problems in the world and for most people... So rich people who are well ensconced in their lives and they don't have to worry about their kids dying from infectious diseases or not having enough food, all that kind of stuff. They clearly can worry about what the temperature is going to be in 100 years. But for most of the planet's population, so the 6.5 billion people here, they actually worry about their kids might die tonight. They might not have enough food. They have terrible education. There are all kinds of other terrible things. Almost a billion people are extremely poor. So in terms of the overall impact on human health and life, elevating the economy is the most important step that people can take? It's certainly a very important part of it. And again, when we... Sorry, if I could just show you the one of malnutrition, the slight from the B-stack number 6. Sorry. So what I just want to show you was that malnutrition has come down dramatically. And again, what you see here, so this is the number of deaths from kids that are less than five years old. And again, this is very similar to the other chart, but a little bit of a difference between with climate change and without climate change. Without climate change, it's only slightly lower, but the overall trend is much, much, much lower than it was in 1990. And this is because we're getting better at making agriculture. This is what we talked about before. They're much better in India. They're much better everywhere. And we should... So the overall net benefit is positive. We're moving towards a world that's going to be much better. So these guys that are protesting think it's the end of the world. No, it's not. It's a world that's going to be much better, but they're right in saying that climate is one problem. So definitely think about how we fix that. But we should also remember a large part of this is how do we fix all the other problems?