Daily Archives: February 20, 2013

State Water Resources Board (CA) wants agriculture tax, fees to fund water systems

“California water officials are urging state lawmakers to create a new source of funding by implementing some new taxes and fees so that communities with high levels of nitrates in their drinking water can build and operate safe water systems.”

Click here for full news article….

Spanish researchers Barredo et al. rule out anthropogenic climate change as affecting flood losses

This study failed to find a significant positive trend in the adjusted insured flood losses in Spain. The authors conclude that the increasing trend in the original losses is explained by socio-economic factors, as found by virtually all other researchers who have examined this issue. Their analysis “rules out a discernible influence of anthropogenic climate change on insured losses.”

Barredo, J. I., Saurí, D., and Llasat, M. C.: Assessing trends in insured losses from floods in Spain 1971–2008, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 1723-1729, doi:10.5194/nhess-12-1723-2012, 2012.

Economic impacts from floods have been increasing over recent decades, a fact often attributed to a changing climate. On the other hand, there is now a significant body of scientific scholarship all pointing towards increasing concentrations and values of assets as the principle cause of the increasing cost of natural disasters. This holds true for a variety of perils and across different jurisdictions. With this in mind, this paper examines the time history of insured losses from floods in Spain between 1971 and 2008. It assesses whether any discernible residual signal remains after adjusting the data for the increase in the number and value of insured assets over this period of time. Data on insured losses from floods were sourced from Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros (CCS). Although a public institution, CCS compensates homeowners for the damage produced by floods, and thus plays a role similar to that of a private insurance company. Insured losses were adjusted using two proxy measures: first, changes in the total amount of annual surcharges (premiums) paid by customers to CCS, and secondly, changes in the total value of dwellings per year. The adjusted data reveals no significant trend over the period 1971–2008 and serves again to confirm that at this juncture, societal influences remain the prime factors driving insured and economic losses from natural disasters.

Click here for full article (Open Source).

Climate change prediction (Brysse et al) paper is not believable

The paper published in Global Environmental Change by Brysse et al (click here) is such self-serving, non-scientific rubbish that I am not even going to present the citation and abstract on this blog. Clearly, this is an example of a complete failure of that journal’s “peer-review” system, especially in light of the events surrounding one of the paper’s reviewers (click here).

I have experienced this type of gatekeeping as well, and it has no place in science or engineering. This is especially troubling since these authors are historians or “soft” scientists, making judgements on scientific matters that they apparently do not understand. The validity of a scientific claim of bias cannot be confirmed or denied using the circular reasoning of this study, which is in itself biased due to the “publication” bias effect.