The cleverest prediction in the history of modern science is that global warming would cause weather to be unpredictable. Genius. Unfortunately for the climate change advocates, further predictions have claimed that severe weather would become more frequent and more severe. If you watch the news, this feels extremely true, but a closer look at the data might change your mind.
Severe weather certainly includes tornadoes, but you may not have heard as much about them from climate change alarmists. The reason is simple: they are in massive decline. It turns out, the U.S. is home to the majority of tornadoes in the world every year, and weather tracking improves every year.
Despite the fact that we can identify more tornadoes than ever, the last 15 years have showed a significant drop in overall activity. It gets more interesting. In most cases, wind speeds and force can only be estimated because getting sensors into a tornado while it’s live is very difficult.
Because of that, tornadoes are still ranked by the amount of damage they do. Considering that the population of the U.S. continues to rise and developments continue to expand, you would expect the severity of tornado activity, measured solely in destruction to property and lives, to increase. Instead, even though factors make it more likely for a tornado to do damage than ever before, strong tornadoes are in a sharper decline than ever before.
While tornadoes make less news, global flooding is everywhere, and every single heavy rain is blamed on global warming. The narrative is so strong that the majority of the world’s population believes that severe floods are on the rise. Interestingly enough, the data shows the complete opposite. Global flooding is in a 10 year decline.
What isn’t in decline is global reporting. Technology and globalization make it easier to report news, and floods make for big news. It should also be noted that damage due to flooding is not in decline. It isn’t rising either. The balance between increased potential for damage (from a growing global population) and the decreased frequency and severity of the floods have so far offset each other. However, if you adjust for inflation, then global damages are actually in decline in this category too.
Hurricane reporting is all over the place. Some will tell you it’s never been worse, while others claim hurricanes are in decline just like tornadoes. The truth is a little complicated. In the North Atlantic, hurricane severity and frequency are both in decline. Also, the 20 year trend has been an inflation-adjusted decrease in damage. There are obvious outliers. Katrina a few years back and Matthew this year both caused damage far above the norm, but neither of those events raised annual severity. They just happened to hit areas that sustained a lot of damage.
Pacific Ocean hurricanes create a different narrative. Climate change proponents will happily explain that hurricane frequency and damage are up thousands of percent in both the Western and Eastern Pacific. What they’ll omit from explanations is that a global effort to better measure Pacific hurricanes went into effect in 2011.
In fact, before WWII, there was no reporting of hurricanes in the Pacific at all. This isn’t for a lack of events; records simply weren’t kept. Of the stations that reported hurricane activity before 2011, there have been no measurable trends of increase or decrease. Instead, there is a narrative of hurricane severity that simply stems from a dramatic increase in observation, rather than activity.
It’s worth noting that the same tracking was incorporated in the Indian Ocean in 2011, and since then exactly 0 hurricanes have been reported. That is not to say that hurricanes never occur there. While they have been observed for decades, no hurricanes have been seen in the Indian Ocean since 2009, even with increased tracking.
There’s a final reporting trend that needs to be debunked. The alarmists champion the fact that natural disaster damage has been increasing on a global scale for the last 20 years. There are two reasons for this. First, these numbers include earthquakes and man-caused disasters like flooding and fires. Obviously both of those can be natural as well, but no distinction is made. Since manmade disasters are included, their frequency would be expected to rise with global populations.
The second and more important factor is global economics. Poverty levels have improved dramatically in the last 20 years, and the end result is that disasters have more potential targets to wreak havoc. In China this past year, flooding caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage. If an identical flood had happened 20 years ago, the total would have been in the millions.