Judith A. Curry is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She must be one of the “3% of climate scientists” that did not drink the “global warming Koolaid.”
Dr. Curry appeared before The House Oversight and Reform Environmental Subcommittee in a Hearing on Recovery, Resilience, and Readiness – Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change.
The following are her prepared remarks. I have edited her comments for the sake of brevity, but you can read her entire discourse in the link provided.
“I thank the Chairman, Ranking Member and the Subcommittee for the opportunity to offer testimony today.
I’ve devoted four decades to conducting research related to extreme weather events and climate change. As President of Climate Forecast Applications Network, I’ve been helping decision makers use weather and climate information to reduce vulnerability to extreme events.
The paradox of weather disasters is that they are at the same time highly surprising, as well as quite predictable. We shouldn’t be surprised by extreme weather events when comparable events have occurred during the past century.
The sense that extreme weather events are now more frequent or intense, caused by manmade global warming, is symptomatic of ‘weather amnesia.’
The devastating impacts in 2017 from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria invoked numerous alarming statements about hurricanes and global warming. However, it’s rarely mentioned that 2017 broke an 11 year drought in U.S. major hurricane landfalls. This major hurricane drought is unprecedented in the historical record.
Of the 13 strongest U.S. landfalling hurricanes in the historical record, only three have occurred since 1970 (Andrew, Michael, Charley). Four of these strongest hurricanes occurred in the decade following 1926.
Recent international and national assessment reports acknowledge that there is not yet evidence of changes in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes, droughts, floods or wildfires that can be attributed to manmade global warming.
The elevated wildfires in the western U.S. since the 1980’s is partly caused by state and federal policies that have resulted in catastrophically overgrown forests. Comparable levels of wildfire activity were observed earlier in the 20th century.
The National Climate Assessment recognized that the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s remains the benchmark period for extreme drought and heat in the historical record.
A few comments regarding projections of future Atlantic hurricane activity.
My company provides seasonal forecasts of extreme weather. For the 2019 hurricane and wildfire seasons, we expect an active hurricane season with substantial landfall risk, whereas we expect the western wildfire season to be relatively quiet.
Out to at least 2050, natural climate variability is expected to dominate future hurricane variations, rather than any warming trend. The most important looming factor is an anticipated future shift to the cold phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. This shift is expected to overall reduce hurricane and wildfire risk for a period of several decades…”
And thanks to HP for sending this to me.