Roger Pielke Jr. has a blog post of interest: “How to be a smart consumer of climate attribution claims:
Three rules for making sense of “event attribution” studies.” I read this with an eye toward attributing megafires to climate change.
Recent years have seen a proliferation of single “event attribution” claims that are quickly churned out in the aftermath of notable extreme weather events. These analyses typically lead with strong claims of a connection between climate change and the event that just happened.
Last month I explained a bit about such claims:
Single-event attribution uses climate models to calculate the odds that a particular extreme event was made more likely as a direct and attributable consequence of human-caused climate change. Such studies generally look at two scenarios, one a counterfactual based on no increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and the other with observed increased concentrations. Then, models run under the two different scenarios are compared to see if the probability of extreme events similar to the one in question became more likely in the model runs with more greenhouse gases.
Today, I offer three rules for accepting such claims from a scientific perspective consistent with the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Event attribution claims are worth scrutiny because their underlying methodology was developed explicitly to support climate lawsuits, promote climate advocacy and attract media attention. You can read more about the politics of such claims here. [emphasis added]
It is troubling that I feel like I have to say this out loud — We should not allow the political significance of a topic to overshadow scientific rigor.