Weather updates

Following my report of predictions of floods for London and a worse-than-average hurricane season, there has been some refinement in both regards. Piers has updated his forecasts for August (attached), though this has not resulted in any major changes - he is still warning strongly of more floods, including for London.

Bishop Hill, meanwhile, has spotted a FoxNews report that picked up a report from the NOAA that the Pacific was so far experiencing ENSO-Neutral conditions, though there was a good chance this would swing towards La Niña conditions this month. This has a marginal impact on expectations for the hurricane season. La Niña should be stronger than ENSO-Neutral, but they were allowing for the possibility of either, so this probably doesn't serve much purpose other than to provide a partial explanation for why June and July were not particularly lively. But as the Bishop points out, it does strongly contradict what the BBC, the Met. Office and others have been telling us about the reasons for our bad weather.

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No sooner have I updated two parts of that old post, than further information arrives on the third part - the effect on insurance premiums. Today's Times has picked up on the point about insurance premiums - warning of a 10% rise in premiums on account of the English floods alone. Better keep your fingers crossed on London and Miami.

Calls will doubtless increase for the Government to spend more on flood defences, and even to underwrite the worst of the risk faced by insurers. Sorting out flood defences that people had good reason to expect to be in working order should be a priority. But beyond that, the Government should listen to the insurance industry about the inadvisability of building in the flood plain, rather than using taxpayers' money to underwrite a significant element of the cost of new development. If we are going to develop flood-threatened areas, as some believe is a good idea (and who is to say they are wrong if it is their own money they are risking?), the developers and purchasers should pay for the necessary defences. Then we'll find out if these really are the most economic locations for new developments.

I am a regular reader of your article. And I am very impress with your blog upon Global Warming. Now I am also write a blog upon effects and causes of Global Warming. This blog is collection of news & reviews like the study found that global warming since 1985 has been caused neither by an increase in solar radiation nor by a decrease in the flux of galactic cosmic rays. Some researchers had also suggested that the latter might influence global warming because the rays trigger cloud formation.

There are some interesting comments floating around Climate Audit at the moment about hurricanes and tropical storms. Apparently there is a strong suspicion that weather systems that would have been ignored in earlier years are now being named. So tropical storm Chantal lasted only 18 hours, and was much further north (outside the tropics!) than is normal.

It's also pointed out that the Pacific hurricane season is much quieter than normal.

Tarun, Thank you for your comment. I will follow your blog with interest. India is at the heart of what we should do about our depleting resources and emissions of greenhouse gases. Your country (and others like it) needs to be included within a rational global mechanism, rather than tacked on (via CDM) to Western mechanisms that treat the developing world as an afterthought, a special case, or a source of cheap "carbon-savings". And that mechanism needs to take a more flexible approach to the balance between adaptation and mitigation, and to take account of the damage that can be done by preventing development as well as the damage from encouraging it.

I take it the paper you refer to is the one by Lockwood and Frohlich. It is controversial. Bishop Hill, who posted the next comment here, has covered it in some depth. From my point of view, it is a pity when the debate becomes polarized in this way in the scientific arena. Most of the scientific debate until now has been couched (on both sides) in terms of very much less certainty than is usually claimed in the media and by politicians. It will be a pity if scientists (outside the IPCC, which has been political for a long time) become increasingly politicized and start taking aggressive stances such as this one.

Bishop, Interesting, as usual. The upgraded categorization of storms would be par for the course. There definitely seems to be an element nowadays of increased awareness and sensitivity being interpreted as increased incidence or severity.

The Pacific hurricane season is predicted by NOAA to be below average, so performance so far is consistent with that model. I have no idea how strong these models are, and whether you could read much into the conformity or otherwise of the weather to these models. My main concerns were (a) to have pointed out before any major hurricane-strike, if one occurs, that it was consistent with explanations that do not rely on global-warming as an explanation (because you know what people will say), and (b) to point out the risk to a fragile global economy of further expensive weather-damage.


One of the upsides of vanity, which I exercise by occasionally googling my comments, is that you come across another commentator such as yourself (you referred to a comment I made on Bishophill, and yes, I read all of yours'.).

This some may consider a downside, I do not.

Your efforts appear interesting so you are officially RSS'd. For some strange reason this means you will get more traffic. I don't know why but it appears that when I discover a blog others follow without me leading them. Of course I may be trying to disprove this theory've got it, I'm sure but it will be interesting nevertheless.

I cannot remember what this is called but it's along the lines of, when one sheep learns to roll over a cattle grid then, within weeks, worldwide, all sheep (and Aussies) learn the same behaviour.

QED with ESP.


STB, Whatever it's called, I will be pleased to welcome any sheep that choose to roll over our grid. I'll watch the logs with interest.

It looks like Piers's first period of predicted floods (5-10 August) will turn out to have been pretty dry (some localized downpours, but no flooding that I have heard of). And the hurricane season continues to be unusually quiet so far.

But in other parts of the world, there have been extreme weather events galore, to an unusual extent (Tarun provides more detail). And the predicted costs to insurers (or their customers) of our June and July floods have been increased to £3bn.

So it's still looking like insurance premiums are at significant risk of being hiked significantly, but neither conventional nor alternative weather models are fairing well in the August-predictions stakes. The extent of the insurance premiums hikes will depend on whether these models prove more accurate over the coming weeks. And little can be learnt so far about the respective merits of the alarmist and sceptical predictions regarding climate-change, given the failure of the weather models from both camps.