Climate Signal Emergence

Roger Pielke Jr. is a PhD Professor of environmental science at the University of Colorado and has been involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for 30 years.

In a recent essay he points out that the frantic media headlines about climate emergencies are not supported by the IPCC’s own climate scientists.

The IPCC states: “An increase in heat extremes has emerged or will emerge in the coming three decades in most land regions (high confidence) relative to the pre-industrial period… In tropical regions, wherever observed changes can be established with statistical significance, and in most mid-latitude regions, there is high confidence that hot and cold extremes have emerged in the historical period, but only medium confidence elsewhere.”

Says Prof. Pielke: “ the emergence of a climate change signal is not expected under the extreme RCP8.5 scenario by 2100 for any of these [climate] phenomena, except heavy precipitation and pluvial floods and that with only medium confidence. Since we know that RCP8.5 is extreme and implausible,” - notably, requiring massive increase in coal burning – “that means that there would even less confidence in emergence under a more plausible upper bound,.”  Note the “confidence levels” are the collective guesses of the scientists, not actual data.

Prof. Pielke continues: “Clearly, with the exception perhaps of only extreme heat, the IPCC is badly out of step with today’s apocalyptic zeitgeist. Maybe that is why no one mentions what the IPCC actually says on extreme events.”


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  • John McClaughry
    published this page in EAI Blog 2023-07-25 01:52:55 -0400