A New Paper

June 26th, 2006

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

The text that accompanied my public lecture last spring for the NAS Ocean Studies Board has now been published in the magazine Oceanography. Here is a citation and link:

Pielke, Jr., R. A. 2006. Seventh Annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture: Disasters, Death, and Destruction: Making Sense of Recent Calamities, Oceanography, 19:138-147. (PDF)

Comments welcomed.

3 Responses to “A New Paper”

  1. Neil' Says:

    Roger: in a nutshell, I think the problem with your paper is that you focus on statistical uncertainty, at the expense of the theoretical basis for global warming and its dangers. Carbon dioxide has been known since the 19th Century to absorb infrared light, and the seminal paper outlining the likely warming future of the earth appeared in 1896*, by later-Nobel winner Svante Arrhenius! Once there is a theoretical basis, then that is the likely outcome barring more convincing alternative causal schemes.

    We aren’t just extracting trends. Think of the stock market. It has ups and downs, but we know there is a general tendency for it to go up based on the overall growth of the economy (and greater participation by investors, a factor not getting enough attention.) The ups and downs could make some persons think there is no likely future trend, but we have *reason* to believe there will be an upward trend (barring unusual circumstances of course, a problem for any kind of forcast.) Since warming is likely to have occured from CO2 in the recent past, and likely to continue for theoretical reasons, there is at least a good chance that warming has affected other things such as storm activity. Of course, we don’t know for sure, and other factors just might oppose it strongly, but the theoretical support has to be appreciated and acknowledged.

    * Svante Arrhenius, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground”, Philosophical Magazine 41, 237-276 (1896)

  2. 2
  3. Rheticus Says:

    When was this article submitted? More to the point, in your paper you discuss a paper by Emanuel:
    Emanuel, K. 2005. “Increasing destructiveness of
    tropical cyclones over the past 30 years” published in Nature. Is this the paper that is often cited as demonstrating a connection between global warming and the severity of storms?

  4. 3
  5. Roger Pielke, Jr. Says:

    Neil- Your comment made me check to see that I did not accidentally link to some thing else! ;-)

    Rheticus- If memory serves it was submitted February-ish beofre my lecture in March, and page proofs arrived April-ish. Yes, that is the Emanuel paper. But it documents a trend, it does not make a case for attribution.

    See the discussion of this point here:

    Pielke, Jr., R. A., C.W. Landsea, M. Mayfield, J. Laver, R. Pasch, 2006. Reply to Hurricanes and Global Warming Potential Linkages and Consequences, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 87, pp. 628-631.