Every time there’s extreme weather in the United States we get a round of clucking from the global warming alarmists about increasingly severe weather, etc., etc. The problem, though, is that a lot of the increases in volume and severity of weather has to do with the fact that we have better detection abilities, more news media and more development so that storms are more likely to cause damage to human settlements.
As Roger Pielke points out in the Wall Street Journal, we’re actually going through something of an extreme weather drought:
While it’s hardly mentioned in the media, the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane “drought.” The last Category 3 or stronger storm to make landfall was Wilma in 2005. The more than seven years since then is the longest such span in over a century.
Flood damage has decreased as a proportion of the economy since reliable records were first kept by the National Weather Service in the 1930s, and there is no evidence of increasing extreme river floods. Historic tornado damage (adjusted for changing levels of development) has decreased since 1950, paralleling a dramatic reduction in casualties. Although the tragic impacts of tornadoes in 2011 (including 553 confirmed deaths) were comparable only to those of 1953 and 1964, such tornado impacts were far more common in the first half of the 20th century.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that drought in America’s central plains has decreased in recent decades. And even when extensive drought occurs, we fare better. For example, the widespread 2012 drought was about 10% as costly to the U.S. economy as the multiyear 1988-89 drought, indicating greater resiliency of American agriculture.
There is therefore reason to believe we are living in an extended period of relatively good fortune with respect to disasters.
The thing about global warming is that it’s not so much a scientific movement as a political movement. Global warming is about scaring people into supporting “green” policies like heavy subsidies for “green energy” (which global warming alarmists like Al Gore just happen to be invested in heavily). That’s why they tie everything to global warming.
Tornado touch down? Global warming. Hurricane makes landfall? Global warming. And the only way to solve global warming is, of course, higher taxes and more government control over our lives and industry.