What Really Drives Weather Deaths?

While this may seem an odd statement, the main driver behind weather deaths is probably not weather:

For tornadoes, since peaking in the early decades of the 20th century, deaths declined by over 80% while death rates declined by 92% (based on 10-year moving averages for 1916-2006) . [See Figures 6 and 7.]

For other extreme events — lightning, floods and hurricanes – US deaths and death rates are also below their peak levels of a few decades ago. Their declines in annual mortality range from 62 to 80%, while mortality rates declined 75 to 95%.

Globally, mortality and mortality rates have declined by 95% or more since the 1920s. The largest improvements came from declines in mortality due to droughts and floods, which apparently were responsible for 93% of all deaths caused by extreme events during the 20th Century. For windstorms, which, at 6%, contributed most of the remaining fatalities, mortality rates are also lower today but there are no clear trends for mortality.

Deaths1

Imagine three regressions, each between the declining deaths above and some variable.  The first is against CO2 and/or temperature.  Many global warming alarmists argue that increasing temperatures leads to more severe weather and weather deaths, but clearly this is not even the right sign. 

The second variable is total severe weather events, which is a line that is relatively flat over time with a lot of noise.  Again, clearly this does not have much explanatory power. 

The third variable is global wealth and development, which is growing strongly.  I think the best correlation you would find is with this latter, or rather, with its inverse, which can be thought of as the reduction of poverty.  As people get wealthier, they are better able to either escape or survive severe weather events.

The reason I bring this up is because it is interesting to see the preferred solutions being offered for supposed man-made climate change.  All of these proposals, whether they admit it or not, sacrifice wealth and development for reductions in CO2.  They all reduce the one variable proven to decrease mortality from weather (ie welath) and substitute a focus on a variable (CO2) that has absolutely no explanatory power for the historical data, except perhaps in its inverse.

  • Scientist

    This report comes from the ‘Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change’. This group was formed by the International Policy Network. The International Policy Network receives funding from Exxon.

    How about quoting peer-reviewed science, and not the fantasies of right-wing think tanks?

  • Chris Christner

    That’s a funny comment considering it’s from a gal pretending she’s a scientist.

    Brace up like a woman and tell us who you really are “Scientist.” For all we know, you’re getting funding from Exxon.

  • morganovich

    the death rate numbers comes from EM-DAT, the international disaster database maintained by the office of foreign disaster aid center for the research on the epidemiology of disasters at the universite louvrain in belgium.

    last i heard not a right wing hotbed…

    impugning a source does not make an argument invalid. it just shows lazy thinking.

  • Thank you, Morganovich

    Why does funding from Exxon indicate bias any more than funding from WWF or from the UN IPCC…of course it does from both sides, but attack the arguments on their merits and stop making ad hominem attacks and promoting Lysenkoism in the 21st Century!

    And thank god Exxon and others are providing funding of some kind to provide SOME kind of another point of view….you should consider reading those OTHER points of view sometime rather than being so blinkered…..there are lots of them out there across the spectrum of many very reasonable arguments for and against man-made climate change.

    The idea of any so-called consensus is garbage and we ought to wake up to that fact before the policy machines start grinding out a lot of ill-conceived legislation.

  • Rob

    Come on Scientist, you know your argument about funding bias is rhetoric and demagoguery. I give you more credit when it comes to the science side of the debate (whether I agree or not) than the politics and morality side.

    Of course, if you use that flimsy argument, then the next logical step is to see how much more money is stacked on the pro-man-made global warming side of research. “Obviously” there is more money and careers to be made which must “obviously” mean they are biased. Your argument seems to imply that all the immoral climate scientists decided to work on the skeptic’s side of the debate, while the holier-than-thou climate scientists chose the righteous path. Or maybe it is all a big conspiracy –> Get a few skeptics to cause imbalance in the system so that all the “true scientists” can keep getting paid !?!?!

    Bottom line, why should one trust a gov’t funded entity over a corporate funded entity. Both want to ensure their survival and grow.

  • Rob

    Come on Scientist, you know your argument about funding bias is rhetoric and demagoguery. I give you more credit when it comes to the science side of the debate (whether I agree or not) than the politics and morality side.

    Of course, if you use that flimsy argument, then the next logical step is to see how much more money is stacked on the pro-man-made global warming side of research. “Obviously” there is more money and careers to be made which must “obviously” mean they are biased. Your argument seems to imply that all the immoral climate scientists decided to work on the skeptic’s side of the debate, while the holier-than-thou climate scientists chose the righteous path. Or maybe it is all a big conspiracy –> Get a few skeptics to cause imbalance in the system so that all the “true scientists” can keep getting paid !?!?!

    Bottom line, why should one trust a gov’t funded entity over a corporate funded entity. Both want to ensure their survival and grow.

  • Scientist

    It isn’t a flimsy argument. If you have a choice between quoting results from peer-reviewed journals, or pieces written by right-wing think tanks and funded by oil companies, why would you choose the latter?

    Bottom line, why should one trust a gov’t funded entity over a corporate funded entity – why should one trust a neutral body over one with a vested interest? Hmmmm…

    If you think everybody is equally corrupt, you really need to explain what would motivate every single climate scientist to manipulate their results in the way you presumably believe they do. How about you do a bit of research and tell us the typical wage of a climate science post doc?

  • morganovich

    or, rather than trying to guess everyones motives, you could just assess their data and conclusions.

    a government body entirely dependent upon the public purse for its funding and the continuing employment of its members is anything but neutral. no crisis, no budget. given that a climate post doc has very limited employment opportunities, such budgets are critical for their having a career at all. AGW has been like the climate scientist full employment act. if it went away and the billions of dollars of government funding went away, a large number of people would be looking for work.

    odd how you never see a government group making the statement: “the working group has examined the issue for which it was empaneled and determined that it is not, in fact, an issue. there’s nothing to worry about. here is the remainder of our unspent budget back. no further funding will be needed.”

    private industry has a much stronger track record of performing sound science than any government agency.

  • jep, Kansas USA

    Scientist:

    The issue is the quality of the science and not the source of funding. Somehow, accepting money from government entities instead of private business guarantees that a researcher is pure of heart? No, of course not.

    It’s the science that matters.

    BTW: What are your scientific credentials, again?

  • Chris Christner

    OK, “Scientist” says we shouldn’t be referencing work from organizations that are biased because of self-interest. By that standard, she shouldn’t cite RealClimate as a reference. RC’s creators were mainly Hockey Stick creators/proponents and they continue to promote it in spite of it having been discredited (links to NAS & Wegman reports provided on request).

    Mike Mann helped create the HS and was lead author of IPCC AR3, so by extension his biases should render that report unreliable. And as for Keith Briffa, lead author of AR4, his temp reconstruction showed a downturn in temperatures after 1960 that he considered “inappropriate” to show in the IPCC AR4, so the downturn, or “divergence,” was simply deleted. Self-interested bias again, so let’s not reference the IPCC’s AR4.

  • Scientist:

    “It isn’t a flimsy argument. If you have a choice between quoting results from peer-reviewed journals, or pieces written by right-wing think tanks and funded by oil companies, why would you choose the latter?”

    LOL,

    It is a BLOG!

    A part of the internet that is all about free speech.It is revealing that you use the path of innuendo and smear.Than to just post a counterpoint againt what Indur Goklany wrote.

    Then you go on with this:

    “Bottom line, why should one trust a gov’t funded entity over a corporate funded entity – why should one trust a neutral body over one with a vested interest? Hmmmm…”

    That is all you can do? Make smearing comments? No refutations thoughts to form in your brain? Is your pen too dry or paper too brittle?

    Then you finish with this hilarity:

    “If you think everybody is equally corrupt, you really need to explain what would motivate every single climate scientist to manipulate their results in the way you presumably believe they do. How about you do a bit of research and tell us the typical wage of a climate science post doc?”

    How about instead make substantive comments on the posted article.Minus the smears and innuendo? Is it really that hard for you to do? Come on!, it is written in ENGLISH and written in an easy to read style.What is stopping you?

    For a person who chose the moniker SCIENTIST.You sure show none of the rational writing I would expect from a real scientist.

  • Scientist

    Chris Christner – despite the fervent wishes of idiotic deniers, the so-called ‘hockey stick’ has not been discredited.

    sunsettommy – how about making some sense? Your drivel offers no justification for quoting think tanks instead of journal articles.

  • Chris Christner

    Scientist,

    Back with the name calling again? Well, you had your chance to behave in a civilized fashion. I don’t have time to waste on you.

  • (bogus) scientist writes:

    “sunsettommy – how about making some sense? Your drivel offers no justification for quoting think tanks instead of journal articles.”

    ROFLMAO!

    You simply walked right into my fist.Are you really that dumb?

    Here is what I was asking YOU to do…. several times.

    “It is revealing that you use the path of innuendo and smear.Than to just post a counterpoint againt what Indur Goklany wrote.”

    “No refutations thoughts to form in your brain?”

    “How about instead make substantive comments on the posted article.Minus the smears and innuendo? “

    The wild idea of just posting a rational counterpoint to the article minus the childish irrational epithets is apparently not a good idea to YOU.It flies right over your head.

    Maybe because you lack the ability to post such critical replies to something you think is wrong? Too busy being hostile to leave out the irrational worthless smears.

    It is certaintly obvious that spewing out smears and namecalling against people and organization who writes something you think is wrong.Fails to shed light on the supposed errors.That is why you are looking the fool with your (he he he) debunking skills.Just smearing people fails to debunk anything.

    Try posting rational counterpoints instead.This way your credibility low as it is now will start to go back up.

    By the way.Not once did I justify that we should be quoting think tanks over science journals.I was stating that I believe in freedom of expression and speech.

    Try not to put words in my mouth.