The climate dice are becoming more loaded – new evidence on extreme weather events

From a new paper by J. Hansen, M. Sato and R. Ruedy

hot and very hot“The “climate dice” describing the chance of an unusually warm or cool season, relative to the climatology of 1951-1980, have progressively become more “loaded” during the past 30 years, coincident with increased global warming.  The most dramatic and  important change of the climate dice is the appearance of a new category of extreme climate  outliers.  These extremes were practically absent in the period of climatology, covering much  less than 1% of Earth’s surface.  Now summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three  standard deviations (σ) warmer than climatology, typically cover about 10% of the land area.  Thus there is no need to equivocate about the summer heat waves in Texas in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, which exceeded 3σ – it is nearly certain that they would not have occurred in the absence of global warming.  If global warming is not slowed from its current pace, by midcentury 3σ events will be the new norm and 5σ events will be common.”

Plus some pretty hard-hitting writing in the body of the paper:

“One of the major candidates in the current Presidential primary in the United States has declared that human-made global warming is a hoax, and he has issued an official Proclamation: ” I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on those days for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.”

Science cannot disprove the possibility of divine intervention. However, there is a relevant saying that “Heaven helps those who help themselves.””

[h/t Steve Jennings]

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2 Responses to “The climate dice are becoming more loaded – new evidence on extreme weather events”
  1. John Magrath

    See also the map of extremes that affected the USA in 2011, when over half the country suffered either drought or deluge, at U.S. 2011: The Wet Get Wetter, the Dry Get Drier, on Skepticalscience at However, I think it should be pointed out that the Hansen, Sato and Redy paper cited was a draft and it looks likely that the reference to Governor Rick Perry’s prayer for rain will likely be omitted from the final published version and the paper stick to the science.

  2. Jewell Sperling

    That’s the way to think about the issue: It’s not global warming or climate change, it’s a bunch of weird local disasters that didn’t happen even a few decades ago. It’s not going to be solved by grandiose global agreements but by straightforward improvements at the local, state and national level. The “weather sure got weird” is a narrative the press already loves and people are enthralled by.

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