[Penn State University meteorologist Michael] Mann told USA TODAY that we “underestimated the dramatic increase in persistent weather extremes like the unprecedented heat waves, droughts, wildfires and floods we’ve witnessed in recent years.”
Since 1993, there have been 212 weather disasters that cost the United States at least $1 billion each, when adjusted for inflation.
In total, they cost $1.45 trillion and killed more than 10,000 people. That’s an average of 7.8 such disasters per year since 1993, compared with 3.2 per year from 1980 to 1992, according to NOAA.
“Just as climate models almost certainly underestimate the impact climate change has already had on such weather extremes, projections from these models also likely underestimate future increases in these types of events,” Mann wrote in The Washington Post last year.
“By and large, our models have gotten it right, plus or minus a little bit,” said Zeke Hausfather, a University of California-Berkeley scientist.
[Weather Underground meteorologist Robert] Henson noted it’s clear that global climate models were on the right track 20 years ago: Global temperatures would continue to rise as greenhouse gases continued to accumulate in the atmosphere.
That’s been borne out: The global average temperature rose a tad more than a degree Fahrenheit since the mid-’90s, according to NOAA.
“The global temperature projections were just about on the money,” Mann said. [Continue reading…]