Category Archives: extreme weather

No climate trend in hurricane damage losses

Jessica Weinkle, Chris Landsea, Douglas Collins, Rade Musulin, Ryan P. Crompton, Philip J. Klotzbach, Roger Pielke Jr. Normalized hurricane damage in the continental United States 1900–2017. Nature Sustainability (2018)

Direct economic losses result when a hurricane encounters an exposed, vulnerable society. A normalization estimates direct economic losses from a historical extreme event if that same event was to occur under contemporary societal conditions. Under the global indicator framework of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the reduction of direct economic losses as a proportion of total economic activity is identified as a key indicator of progress in the mitigation of disaster impacts. Understanding loss trends in the context of development can therefore aid in assessing sustainable development. This analysis provides a major update to the leading dataset on normalized US hurricane losses in the continental United States from 1900 to 2017. Over this period, 197 hurricanes resulted in 206 landfalls with about US$2 trillion in normalized (2018) damage, or just under US$17 billion annually. Consistent with observed trends in the frequency and intensity of hurricane landfalls along the continental United States since 1900, the updated normalized loss estimates also show no trend. A more detailed comparison of trends in hurricanes and normalized losses over various periods in the twentieth century to 2017 demonstrates a very high degree of consistency.

US temperature extremes have become more moderate

“Chapter 6 – Temperature Changes in the United States of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s recently published Climate Science Special Report (2017) clearly shows and discusses, under the heading of “6.1.2 Temperature Extremes”, how temperature extremes for the contiguous United States have become more moderate over the last 118 years, with the coldest daily temperatures warming and the warmest daily temperatures cooling. In other words, temperature-extreme-related climate in the United States has improved.” click here

Gov. Jerry Brown agrees with President Trump on California logging practices

“Months ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown urged state lawmakers to loosen restrictive logging regulations put in place to appease environmentalists — a move that appears to have confirmed that President Trump’s recent critiques of state logging practices was correct.” click here

UN IPCC report acknowledges extreme weather events have not increased

“The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change’s (IPCC) newly-released climate report, once again, found little to no evidence global warming caused many types of extreme weather events to increase.” click here

Heat-mortality impacts declined over the past decades

Ana M. Vicedo-Cabrera et al. A multi-country analysis on potential adaptive mechanisms to cold and heat in a changing climate Environment International Volume 111, February 2018, Pages 239-246
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2017.11.006

Background

Temporal variation of temperature-health associations depends on the combination of two pathways: pure adaptation to increasingly warmer temperatures due to climate change, and other attenuation mechanisms due to non-climate factors such as infrastructural changes and improved health care. Disentangling these pathways is critical for assessing climate change impacts and for planning public health and climate policies. We present evidence on this topic by assessing temporal trends in cold- and heat-attributable mortality risks in a multi-country investigation.

Methods

Trends in country-specific attributable mortality fractions (AFs) for cold and heat (defined as below/above minimum mortality temperature, respectively) in 305 locations within 10 countries (1985–2012) were estimated using a two-stage time-series design with time-varying distributed lag non-linear models. To separate the contribution of pure adaptation to increasing temperatures and active changes in susceptibility (non-climate driven mechanisms) to heat and cold, we compared observed yearly-AFs with those predicted in two counterfactual scenarios: trends driven by either (1) changes in exposure-response function (assuming a constant temperature distribution), (2) or changes in temperature distribution (assuming constant exposure-response relationships). This comparison provides insights about the potential mechanisms and pace of adaptation in each population.

Results

Heat-related AFs decreased in all countries (ranging from 0.45–1.66% to 0.15–0.93%, in the first and last 5-year periods, respectively) except in Australia, Ireland and UK. Different patterns were found for cold (where AFs ranged from 5.57–15.43% to 2.16–8.91%), showing either decreasing (Brazil, Japan, Spain, Australia and Ireland), increasing (USA), or stable trends (Canada, South Korea and UK). Heat-AF trends were mostly driven by changes in exposure-response associations due to modified susceptibility to temperature, whereas no clear patterns were observed for cold.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest a decrease in heat-mortality impacts over the past decades, well beyond those expected from a pure adaptation to changes in temperature due to the observed warming. This indicates that there is scope for the development of public health strategies to mitigate heat-related climate change impacts. In contrast, no clear conclusions were found for cold. Further investigations should focus on identification of factors defining these changes in susceptibility.

Cold temperatures are much more deadly than warm

Antonio Gasparrini, Yuming Guo, Masahiro Hashizume, Eric Lavigne, Antonella Zanobetti, Joel Schwartz, Aurelio Tobias, Shilu Tong, Joacim Rocklöv, Bertil Forsberg, Michela Leone, Manuela De Sario, Michelle L Bell, Yue-Liang Leon Guo, Chang-fu Wu, Haidong Kan, Seung-Muk Yi, Micheline de Sousa Zanotti Stagliorio Coelho, Paulo Hilario Nascimento Saldiva, Yasushi Honda, Ho Kim, Ben Armstrong. Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational studyThe Lancet, May 2015 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62114-0

Background

Although studies have provided estimates of premature deaths attributable to either heat or cold in selected countries, none has so far offered a systematic assessment across the whole temperature range in populations exposed to different climates. We aimed to quantify the total mortality burden attributable to non-optimum ambient temperature, and the relative contributions from heat and cold and from moderate and extreme temperatures.

Methods

We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA. We fitted a standard time-series Poisson model for each location, controlling for trends and day of the week. We estimated temperature–mortality associations with a distributed lag non-linear model with 21 days of lag, and then pooled them in a multivariate metaregression that included country indicators and temperature average and range. We calculated attributable deaths for heat and cold, defined as temperatures above and below the optimum temperature, which corresponded to the point of minimum mortality, and for moderate and extreme temperatures, defined using cutoffs at the 2·5th and 97·5th temperature percentiles.

Findings

We analysed 74 225 200 deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012. In total, 7·71% (95% empirical CI 7·43–7·91) of mortality was attributable to non-optimum temperature in the selected countries within the study period, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from 3·37% (3·06 to 3·63) in Thailand to 11·00% (9·29 to 12·47) in China. The temperature percentile of minimum mortality varied from roughly the 60th percentile in tropical areas to about the 80–90th percentile in temperate regions. More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7·29%, 7·02–7·49) than by heat (0·42%, 0·39–0·44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0·86% (0·84–0·87) of total mortality.

Interpretation

Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold. The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios.

Funding

UK Medical Research Council.

Hurricane Florence very natural, not “climate change”

“Although it is still 3-4 days away, rapidly strengthening Hurricane Florence is increasing the threat of a major hurricane landfall somewhere within 120 miles or so of Wilmington, NC. If it reaches that area as a Cat 4 storm, the damage produced will be extensive, likely amounting to tens of billions of dollars.” click here