I refer you to the disappointing e360 piece “Is Extreme Weather Linked to Global Warming?” and the revealing gloss on it by Michael Cote that is brazenly repackaged as “Is the Heat Wave Caused by Climate Change?”
Cote’s title doesn’t summarize the question and his calculation doesn’t summarize the answers. But the fact that he found Curry the clearest and most reliable is a revelation to me. Those of us in the field tend to find Curry confusing and inconsistent. That is, she is giving answers that are easy for novices to understand in preference to answers that summarize the state of knowledge.
The question Cole asks is akin to “did the loaded dice cause me to roll a 12?” and the only serious answer is “they contributed to its likelihood”.
Even if we encounter weather events that would have been impossible absent anthropogenic climate change (“rolling a 13” type events, a candidate at least being last year’s Russian heat wave and Pakistani flood) there is still, generally, an element of chance involved. We have to go to phenomena not generally considered weather-like to be able to give a more coherent answer. (The Japanese earthquake has nothing to do with climate change; the melting ice cap is caused by it.)
But this is not the question raised in the article Cote pretends to summarize. That question is whether climate change is “linked” to recent extremes. To say “no” in this case is flatly absurd. Not even Curry, who has been dedicating the last few years to cultivating an audience among skeptical nonspecialists, nor Pielke, who is himself a nonspecialist, has been beating this drum forever, is willing to hazard a clear no.
All in all this is a disappointing performance from the normally reliable Yale e360 site. One commenter justly summarizes:
“E360 has ‘balanced’ the opinion of several experts with ‘celebrity contrarians’.
Roger Pielke is not a climate scientist and is notoriously unreliable and frequently wrong. Curry has been excoriated for her anti-science ranting and is now more accurately described as a political blogger than climate scientist.
It’s clearly not a coincidence these two were picked from thousands of possible experts – someone knew they could be relied on to ‘spice up’ the story with contrarian views.
This is just more of the never-ending false balance from a media that is more concerned with drawing traffic than informing the public with good science.”
This is true enough and bad enough. But Cote adds some additional filtering and now has a false package of insouciance he can peddle to his customers.