The Norfolk Hysteria

According to the Washington Post and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Norfolk, VA is going under water due to exponentially increasing rates of sea level rise coupled with more precipitation.

Over at Watts Up With That?, Anthony Watts has already debunked the sea level rise hysteria for Norfolk. I'll tackle the precipitation side of the equation.

WaPo claims the following for Norfolk:

Bounded by the Chesapeake Bay and two rivers, sliced by coastal creeks, Norfolk has always been vulnerable to flooding. But over the past decade, people began noticing alarming trends. Hurricanes and nor'easters became more frequent and more damaging.

The NRDC adds some related projections of doom:

Under both higher and lower emissions scenarios, an increase in both the overall annual precipitation and precipitation intensity is projected [for Norfolk, Virginia] throughout the 21st century.

If we believe the Post's claims, there are "alarming trends ... over the past decade" toward more frequent and damaging severe storm events, and the NRDC indicates that climate models are projecting increased precipitation for the region regardless of whether greenhouse gas emissions are curtailed or not.

The disconnect between reality and the claimed/projected trends is large.  Here are the trends – more precisely, the lack thereof – in monthly and annual precipitation, daily maximum precipitation, and the number of days with precipitation greater than one, two, and three inches both "over the past decade" and since 1990.

Click the image to enlarge.

There are effectively no trends, no matter how we look at the data.  Only one increasing trend for daily maximum precipitation during May since 1990 that disappeared over the past decade, two declining trends in the number of days having more than one inch of precipitation, and a declining trend in January precipitation over the past quarter-century.  In other words, three of the four significant trends are headed in the anti-climate-geddon direction.

The other 126 of the 130 total correlations (i.e., 97 percent – a convenient number that keeps popping up in climate science) exhibit absolutely no significant trends.  And there have been no trends in monthly or annual precipitation in the Norfolk area since 1970, either.

Another climate bomb defused using those crazy things called facts.  Residents of Norfolk should rest much easier and stop wasting limited taxpayer resources on unnecessary infrastructure responses to climate alarmism.