Worst Weather in Two Centuries

If it has seemed like we’ve been hearing an awful lot in recent months about extreme weather, about record this and record that, it’s because the weather has, as a matter of fact, been extremely extreme.  How extreme?  Well, on his Wunderblog, Jeff Masters has just posted an astonishing summary of 2010’s top twenty extreme weather events, in which he documents the most wild and unusual weather in decades.

“Every year extraordinary weather events rock the Earth. Records that have stood centuries are broken. Great floods, droughts, and storms affect millions of people, and truly exceptional weather events unprecedented in human history may occur. But the wild roller-coaster ride of incredible weather events during 2010, in my mind, makes that year the planet’s most extraordinary year for extreme weather since reliable global upper-air data began in the late 1940s.”  

At the end of the post, he goes further, and suggests that in the last year and a half the world may have experienced its the most wild and unusual weather since 1816, the famous “Year Without a Summer” caused by the eruption of the Tambora volcano.  Only this time, of course, there’s no volcano to blame.

2 thoughts on “Worst Weather in Two Centuries

  1. Only this time, of course, there's no volcano to blame.Interestingly, a new paper that came out this week says that there is actually a "volcano" to blame for why the naughties were not worse than they turned out to be. The "volcano" was the doubling of Chinese coal consumption in four years (see the second graph here to get a feel for this explosive growth), which added sufficient sulphur emissions to suppress the warming that might have otherwise taken place.It is also worth noting that a number of potentially serious faults with the paper have already been suggested (see also here for some critique of its apparent acceptance of the false claim that warming has stopped since 1998. Warming has slowed somewhat, but certainly not stopped, unless you are allowed to cherry-pick quite carefully and misleadingly). But even with these acknowledged, the critics acknowledge that sulphur emissions are part of the picture of what is going on, and since China is adding scrubbers to remove sulphur (which has various other nasty effects, like acid rain), the reprieve is unlikely to last.Also worth noting that 2010 was during the low point of the eleven year solar sunspot cycle.


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