Via H. Sterling Burnett -May 13, 2022
A Google news search for the term “climate change” over the past few days reveals dozens of stories in the corporate media blaming climate change for the deadly floods. recently in South Africa. Although many stories accurately recount the causes of the human tragedy caused by floods in South Africa, all of them misrepresent: man-made climate change does not cause the floods. recently. History shows that, due to topographic features and ocean circulation patterns in the region, floods are frequent in South Africa. There is no data to support the claim that flooding in South Africa is increasing in number or intensity. The deaths and damage caused by the April 2022 floods are due to the increased population in the flood areas, poverty and poor infrastructure.
Associated Press (AP), CNNthe New York Times Among the other mainstream media, all jumped to the claims of a single study that claimed flooding was fatal in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, particularly in the city. Durban is growing fast, man-made climate change. The AP story was widely circulated, “Climate change is a major driver of deadly floods in South Africa” is typical of media coverage of flawed, unverified research.
“The deadly floods that devastated South Africa in mid-April this year are attributed to man-made climate change, a quick analysis published Friday by… World Weather Attribution [WWA] AP wrote. Izidine Pinto, a climate analyst at the University of Cape Town and part of the team that carried out the analysis, said: “Human-induced climate change has largely contributed to this extreme weather event. .”
Commenting on the study, AP wrote, “[t]His analysis used long-established and revised climate models to account for different sea surface temperatures and global wind circulation, among other factors… [to produce a] quick evaluation analysis. ”
It has long been recognized in the scientific community that the climate models relied upon by WWA to make regulations and hailed by the AP as seriously flawed, a fact that includes Climate realismmost recent this and thisand in Climate change weekly, this and this. Among the biggest weaknesses acknowledged by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about climate models is that they simply represent a lack of understanding of ocean circulation patterns and climate patterns. clouds, two basic elements for storm models. Fault-to-fault matching, WWA then uses these failure models in ways they were never intended to be used, to “attribute” the odds that particular events or magnitudes of The magnitude of events would not have occurred without climate change. Climate models are not designed to make such attribution claims.
Flooding is a relatively frequent natural phenomenon in certain parts of South Africa, particularly along steep streams, rivers and ravines common along the mountainous Eastern Cape and the coast. the sea, where Durbin is.
A recent report states: “Floods are the most frequently recorded disaster in southern Africa, Floods: Current status and impacts of climate change.. “South Africa is no exception and experienced 77 major floods between 1980 and 2010, claiming the lives of at least 1,068 people,” continued “[e]While it is impossible to predict the exact location, time, and date of the next flood, we know it will. ”
Terrain, mountainous areas with many steep ravines that rapidly channel rainfall into rivers and streams are among the reasons that areas in South Africa are prone to periodic flooding. Another factor is prevailing winds and ocean circulation patterns. First post lists the factors that contribute to the deadly floods:
[T]Rain is part of South Africa’s normal weather system known as “low temperatures” that can bring heavy rain and cold weather.
Cut-off low pressure systems are common. Puseletso Mofokeng of the South African Weather Service says their frequency becomes high during autumn and spring, and they vary in strength.
Some of these systems are very intense, causing heavy rain, hail, strong and potentially damaging winds, and heavy snowfall.
The April 2019 low killed 85 people in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
Outside, First post report:
Durban experiences floods every year, but not as severe as this one.
The city is built on a hilly area with numerous gorges – a terrain that University of KwaZulu-Natal urban planner Hope Magidimisha-Chipungu says is conducive to flooding.
Durban is one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa, with an economic growth rate higher than the national average in 2015.
Massive, unplanned migration has created housing shortages, leading to the mushrooming of shacks, known locally as informal settlements.
“The way cities in South Africa are designed is very different in nature,” says planner Magidimisha-Chipungu. “Spatial planning and racist heritage[placed]the urban poor in periphery and low-lying areas” along riverbanks, she said.
About a quarter of the metro’s 3.9 million people live in 550 informal settlements around the city. According to Galvin, at least 164 of them were built on floodplains.
In summary, floods in recent years have all occurred in areas of South Africa known to flood with a frequency. This combined with population growth, with large numbers of people building or moving to unplanned slum towns in known flood areas is responsible for the deadly nature of floods in recent years. Climate change need not apply.
Heavy rainfall: “the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall is likely to have increased on a global scale over much of the land with good visibility… [yet] “Greater rainfall does not always lead to greater flooding.”
To make a statement about flood trends, one should consider flood trends, not rainfall. The confusion of the two is a common mistake.
Regarding floods AR6 says:
Inundation (detection): “Confidence about the trend of peak flows over the past decades on a global scale is low, but there are areas that are increasing, including parts of Asia, southern South America, the northeastern United States, northwestern Europe and the Amazon, and regions in decline, including parts of the Mediterranean, Australia, Africa, and the southwestern United States. “
So while the IPCC has only low confidence that it can detect any general increase in flooding during recent moderate warming, the data it does have suggests that Africa has Likely to be one of the areas where flooding is reduced rather than increased as suggested by WWA — a recommendation that was unconsideredly analyzed by AP and other corporate media.
Renowned astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Neither WWA nor any print and mass media published WWA’s snapshot analysis provided any unusual evidence that climate change was the cause of the recent floods. of South Africa.
The general public would likely benefit from WWA targeting less for rapid assessment, and more for precision in any analysis it produces. Speeds don’t count for more than facts in climate research or reporting.
Why does the media promote particularly alarming results from WWA-related researchers and their ilk, while ignoring the opposing evidence? Perhaps because disasters and crises sell papers, magazines and advertising time, but also because they are being used by organizations that focus on promoting combating climate change as a direct crisis. continues to pay to bring about change in global governance. As I noted in Weekly climate change 427, in February, the AP is proud to announce that it has accepted an $8 million grant from five renowned organizations known for promoting and supporting organizations that advance climate alarm. This funding is used to support the hiring of more than two dozen journalists to cover climate issues primarily from Africa, Brazil, India and the United States.
In the press release announcing the grant, AP said, “[t]His sweeping initiative will change the way we deliver the climate narrative.” Based on recent AP climate coverage, there’s no doubt that the platforms are getting their money’s worth.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow in environmental and energy policy at the Heartland Institute. Burnett has worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, most recently as a senior fellow in charge of the NCPA’s environmental policy program. He has held various positions in public and professional policy organizations, including serving as a member of the Environmental and Natural Resources Task Force on the Texas e-Texas committee. Comptroller.