Slap Down of new study claiming ‘Climate change effects increasingly influencing U.S. thunderstorm losses’ — ‘Strong public claims simply cannot be supported by the actual research’

Pielke Excerpt: It is here where the reader of the paper might find themself being taken for a fool…’the paper suffers from an obvious fatal error…The paper says nothing conclusive about attribution. It is not an “initial climate change footprint.” It does not support the claim that “climate change effects increasingly influencing US thunderstorm losses.’

In fact, the paper says much the opposite: attribution of losses to climate change was not achieved in the paper.

So let’s recap:

  • Munich Re claimed to have discovered the first “climate change footprint” in economic loss data.
  • That was incorrect.
  • Munich Re claimed in the headline of the press released announcing SEFS13 that “climate change effects increasingly influencing US thunderstorms.”
  • That turns out not to be supported by the paper, which actually concludes the opposite.
  • SEFS13 argues a causal mechanism between increasing humidity, thunderstorm variability and by extension, to normalized losses.
  • The paper fails to report that in the region where most US thunderstorm activity and damage has occurred, the data shows no change in humidity 1973 to 1999 — undercutting its core argument. The paper reports data for an accompanying region where there has been an increase in humidity, but very few losses.

Misleading public claims. An over-hyped press release. A paper which neglects to include materially relevant and contradictory information central to its core argument. All in all, just a normal day in climate science!