Climate Change Stats Don’t Account For Inflation

 Dear Editor,

Climate scientists use many ways to defend their beliefs.  A few years ago, during a bad hurricane season, the number of hurricanes outside “normal” was used as “evidence of global warming.”  Averages or “normal” include high and low periods.  Fortunately for those living near the coast, the trend didn’t continue.  As a result, we haven’t heard much about trends in the number of hurricanes proving global warming.  However, we are seeing a growing number of costly weather disasters.  According to a recent Scientific American article, a steady increase in the number of weather events exceeding $1 billion is caused by global warming.  The argument is that while the number remains the same, the weather is more powerful.

These authors/researchers are too consumed with validating climate fears and bashing “deniers” to consider more logical explanations.  As an example, inflation explains why the number of weather events exceeding $1 billion is steadily increasing.  The cost of damaged property has steadily increased.  Therefore, the number of storms reaching this magic threshold has increased.  The exact same 1980 storm causing the exact same damage in 2023 would be more expensive due to inflation.  These authors/researchers did not seem to correct for inflation.

Another factor affecting damage costs is population density.  Our population continues to grow due to reproduction and immigration.  The more people, the more goods.  Population increase means more apartments, houses, stoves, televisions, computers, and vehicles destroyed by weather phenomena.  Therefore, storms with the same power will cause more expensive damage as the population grows.  There is no indication the data was corrected for population.

The author accidentally includes other causes of increased costs.  Definitions and calculations have changed.  Since damages have been historically underreported, experts recording this data are constantly looking for ways to increase cost identification.  However, they seemed oblivious to the effects on the trend.  As researchers continue to “improve” data capture, storm damage costs increase.  More storms will therefore reach the study threshold.  As an example of changing definition, fire damage now includes smoke damage hundreds of miles away.  The record used in the analysis began to be compiled in 1980, when smoke damage data wasn’t considered.   It is unlikely these new definitions/calculations can be applied retrospectively or removed prospectively.  Without a standard definition/consistent calculation, the trend proves they have been successful in improving cost identification not that storms are more damaging.

Alan Burke