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Climate science mistakes betray the poor

By Tom Harris and Tim Ball - posted Monday, 15 September 2014

“Mega-droughts and deadly heatwaves. A year’s rainfall in a month.

Coastal cities under water. Destruction of ocean life. Invasive pests.”

This is how the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) describes “weather reports from the future”, a series of films depicting what they claim are realistic scenarios for the year 2050.


Working with television weather presenters and national broadcasters from around the world, the WMO is releasing 14 imaginary future weather reports this month designed to influence the UN’s Climate Summit 2014 to be held in New York City on September 23.

The films “paint a compelling picture of what life could be like on a warmer planet,” says WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Climate change is already leading to more extreme weather such as intense heat and rain…We need to act now.”

But neither the WMO films nor Jarraud’s statement make sense. They are based on the findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an agency that has been wrong on every forecast they have ever made. So like most of the climate debate, the WMO initiative is not science. It is propaganda designed to push political leaders into committing their countries to a binding greenhouse gas reduction treaty at next year’s Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Science tells us that if the world warms due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, an improbable proposition, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker midlatitude cyclones in a warmer world and so less extremes in weather, not more.

The lack of a global warming/extreme weather connection is one of the few areas of agreement between the IPCC and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

The IPCC wrote in their March 28, 2012 Special Report on Extremes, "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses [due to extreme weather] have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change." In their September 27, 2013 Fifth Assessment Report the IPCC had only “low confidence” that “damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity” as a result of global warming.


The NIPCC report released on September 17, 2013 concluded the same, asserting that “In no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.” The NIPCC even went so far as to say, “There has been no significant increase in either the frequency or intensity of stormy weather in the modern era.”

For example, the number of tropical cyclones making landfall in the Philippines has not changed significantly over the past century. And it has been almost nine years since the last major hurricane struck the US Mainland, the longest drought in the hurricane record since 1900.

Despite predictions that the 2013 hurricane season (Jun 1 – Nov 30) would be more active than usual, it was one of the weakest since record-keeping began about 50 years ago. The 2014 season is also showing less activity than normal. The US National Hurricane Center stated on September 1, “For the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, activity in the basin so far in 2014 has been about 45% of the 1981-2010 average.”

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About the Authors

Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

Dr. Tim Ball is a Victoria, British Columbia, Canada-based climatologist and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. His Website is

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Tom Harris
All articles by Tim Ball

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