Does recent Oklahoma weather tell us anything?
There are many articles coming out which make similar claims to the one below. Note however the omissions. No climate skeptic was consulted for alternative statistics or explanations. And even if we accept that there has been a recent increase of big storms and wild weather, alternative explanations to global warming are readily available.
It has for instance recently been shown that storm incidence is heavily and rapidly influenceed by aerosol load. And there is no doubt that factories and cars have been putting out a lot of aerosols (minute particles that float in the sky) in recent years. Warming need have nothing to do with it. An increase in storms may have been triggered just by an upsurge in aerosols. Since global temperatures have not increased for over 10 years, aerosols are in fact the more likely culprit.
And the basic claim that weather has been more extreme in recent years is highly suspect. As has often been documented on this blog, there were many catastrophic weather events in the early 20th century -- long before the period nominated by Warmists as influenced by anthropogenic CO2.
In support of that suspicion, note that many of the extremes noted below are only "since 1980". Nice to cherrypick your starting point! In fact just picking out Oklahoma is also cherrypicking
Oklahomans are accustomed to cruel climate. Frigid winters and searing summers are often made more unbearable by scouring winds. But even by Oklahoma standards, it's been a year of whipsaw weather.
February was so cold — with the wind chill it felt like 16 below — that Tim Gillard installed a door in the long hallway of his home in the small farming town of Marshall, walling off three rooms to more affordably heat the rest of the house. Now, in this summer's unrelenting heat, his family huddles in the air conditioning behind that same door.
The Gillards' respite ended this month when a windstorm knocked out the town's electricity. That sent many of Marshall's 290 beleaguered residents out to their porches at night to sleep, cooler than inside but still sweltering. In July, Oklahoma's average statewide temperature of 89 was the highest ever recorded for any state.
Oklahoma's misery has been writ large across the country this year, which federal climate scientists have labeled one of the worst in American history for extreme weather. With punishing blizzards, epic flooding, devastating drought and a heat wave that has broiled a huge swath of the country, the 2011 weather has been unrelenting and extraordinary.
In addition to hundreds of deaths from cold and heat and tornadoes, the national economic toll for extreme weather so far this year is estimated at $35 billion, more than five times the average annual loss.
And, climatologists warn, get used to it. The year has been so wild that Gary McManus has given up keeping track of the weather records set in Oklahoma. Begrudgingly, McManus, the associate state climatologist, briskly rattled off a few:
—The all-time low temperature (31 degrees below zero).
—Greatest 24-hour snowfall total (27 inches).
—Most tornadoes in one month (50 in April).
There's been no measurable rain in the western half of the state since October. The 11-month period ending in August was the driest such period statewide since records were first kept in 1895.
McManus said this year's back-to-back weather calamities were "out of the realm of your imagining. It's not just that temperatures are above normal, it's that it's above normal for so many months in a row." And this is the state that bore the brunt of the Dust Bowl.
"It's Oklahoma, it's feast or famine," said Annette Gonzales, 58, acting Marshall postmaster. "It's always extreme."
Oklahoma's heat wave has so far claimed 14 lives. Since 2000, Oklahoma has had more federally declared weather-related disasters than any other state....
Climate scientists point to the predictable and cumulative effects of climate change — both hot and cold — to account for much of the extreme weather, although the connection between tornadoes and climate is not clear. In any event, scientists caution that the future will hold greater temperature extremes, and for longer duration.
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that extreme weather events have been more frequent since 1980.