Media’s Favorite Bogeyman Falsely Blamed For S. Africa’s Tragic Floods

Posted: May 17, 2022 by oldbrew in alarmism, climate, Critique, media, modelling, Natural Variation, weather
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Too much instant attribution of single weather events to supposed human causes going on in today’s media, supported only (if at all) by rushed-out so-called analysis using climate models. Natural variation gets a low mark in this percentages blame game.
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A Google news search for the term “climate change,” over the past few days turns up dozens of stories in corporate media outlets blaming climate change for recent deadly floods in South Africa, says H. Sterling Burnett @ Climate Change Dispatch.

Although many of the stories accurately captured the pathos of the human tragedy resulting from South Africa’s floods, they all mispresented the facts: human-caused climate change did not cause the recent floods. [bold, links added]

History shows that floods regularly occur in South Africa because of its topography and regional ocean circulation patterns.

No data supports the claim South Africa’s floods are increasing in number or intensity.

The death and damage caused by the April 2022 flooding are from rising populations in flood zones, poverty, and poor infrastructure.

The Associated Press (AP), CNN, the New York Times, and other mainstream media outlets have all jumped on the claims of a single study attributing the fatal flooding in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, particularly in the fast-growing city of Durban, to human-caused climate change.

The widely carried AP story, “Climate change a major factor in fatal South Africa floods,” is typical of the media’s coverage of the flawed, unverified, research.

“The fatal floods that wreaked havoc in South Africa in mid-April this year have been attributed to human-caused climate change, a rapid analysis published Friday by … the World Weather Attribution [WWA] group,” writes the AP.

“‘Human-induced climate change contributed largely to this extreme weather event,’ Izidine Pinto, a climate analyst at the University of Cape Town and part of the group that conducted the analysis, said.”

Commenting on the study, the AP writes, “[t]he analysis used long-established and peer-reviewed climate models to account for various levels of sea surface temperatures and global wind circulation among other factors … [to produce a] rapid assessment analysis.”

Climate Realism has previously discussed WWA’s past flawed efforts to rapidly link particular weather events to human-caused climate change, here and here, for example.

It has long been recognized in the scientific community that the climate models relied upon by WWA to make its attributions and praised by the AP are seriously flawed. [See original article for cited links].
. . .
Among the greatest weaknesses acknowledged by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about climate models is that they only display a poor understanding of ocean circulation patterns and clouds, two factors fundamental to storm patterns.

Compounding error upon error, WWA then uses these flawed models in ways they were never intended to be used, to “attribute” odds that particular events or degrees of intensities of events, would not have occurred absent climate change.

Climate models were not designed to make such attribution claims.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. JB says:

    “death and damage caused by …flooding are from rising populations in flood zones”

    After the rage they’ll go inhabit those areas again, learning nothing. The fauna are usually smart enough to get out of the way.

  2. Bazz says:

    Likewise Australia is a favourite victim of this Global Warming blame game.
    Australia is known as a Land of Drought and Flooding rains.
    Last year the paranoid blame of the co2 nonsense was amazing.
    The word repeated adnauseum was Unprecedented !
    It was world wide, but a little research going back to the 1930s and 19th century would have turned up worse fires and many of them.
    This years floods were “UNPRECEDENTED !.
    We know why the fires were so bad almost a hundred enquires have told us;
    IT IS THE UNDERGROWTH LITTER STUPID !
    to paraphrase Bill Clinton.
    The mad greenies got burnoffs stopped to save the environment.
    Will they never learn ?

  3. Phoenix44 says:

    Think for a moment what “attribution” means. Without climate change there’s only a 90% chance it would have happened say.

    Now what?

    Any probability above zero can happen. So how can you claim climate change made it happen? It’s utter nonsense.

  4. Russ Wood says:

    It’s well noted here in South Africa, that the ANC governs mostly on a “laissez-faire” basis. The valleys around Durban that flooded were, under the “old dispensation”, strictly controlled. No building in flood plains, or on unstable steep slopes. It SHOULD have been obvious that these steep valleys, where most of the flooding damage was done, hadn’t been cut out of the hills just by gentle rain! But the ANC government HAD to let the people build where they wanted. otherwise they might have voted for someone else. Above all, this current disaster, like so many others, was mostly POLITICAL!

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