In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, anthropogenic global warming (AGW) activists insisted that the stronger storm systems resulted from the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and that we can expect storms like these to become commonplace. They were tripping all over each other issuing claim after claim about these hurricanes being just the beginning of what we can expect to see in the future. The media took the bait and the following hurricane season they patiently waited for the new wave of global warming induced hurricanes to make shore—none did.
Al Gore has made frequent use of satellite images of Katrina and news footage of the destruction to buttress his claims that human emissions of carbon dioxide spell doom for the planet. Gore even prominently placed a picture of Katrina in posters advertizing his schlockumentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” On the cover of his book is a globe with four photoshopped in hurricanes around the world, no Arctic ice and a missing Florida—all scaremongering deception.
There was barely any scientific evidence to support the claims (other than faulty computer models) but that didn’t matter. The AGW activists just kept repeating them anyway. They repeated them so long and so often that they made their way into the UN’s IPCC report and have remained a staple of AGW arguments for immediate and drastic action to limit energy production as part of the “settled science” attempt to shut down debate.
Now, less than five years after Katrina, some of the world’s top hurricane experts say Gore and the IPCC’s assertion were false.
A new study predicts that even if global warming is a reality, contrary to claims made by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and the his fellow climate alarmists, it will actually reduce the number of hurricanes by as much as 34 percent by the year 2100. (1)
The report also found that the increase in tropical storm activity the planet has seen since 1995 is part of a natural cycle completely unrelated to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
These revelations represent another serious crack in the claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and therefore seem quite unlikely to be reported by media that have been largely ignoring all the errors that have been found recently in key IPCC documents.
The benchmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that a worldwide increase in hurricane-force storms since 1970 was probably linked to global warming. The IPCC added that humanity could expect a big increase in such storms over the 21st century unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled.
However, the latest research paints a very different picture.
It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline. Looking to the future, it also draws on computer modeling to predict that the most likely impact of global warming will be to decrease the frequency of tropical storms. It does, however, suggest that when tropical storms do occur they could get slightly stronger, but only those out in the open ocean. We must keep in mind that projections about the future are based on computer models and computer models only. So while the analysis of past hurricanes is based on empirical science (hurricane numbers follow a natural global cycle), the projections about the future are iffy (much fewer in number and a little larger in magnitude). Of course, the alarmist will ignore the science and grasp at the part of the model projections that suit their agenda. But if hurricane activity as a whole becomes less frequent, and the most significant uptick in minor hurricane subsets occurs in storms that never make landfall, it calls to mind the old hypothetical, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it really make a noise?”
“We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said Chris Landsea, a lead scientist at the government’s National Hurricane Center, who co-authored the report.
He added: ”There are a lot of legitimate concerns about climate change but, in my opinion, hurricanes are not among them. We are looking at a decrease in frequency and a small increase in severity.” Landsea said he regarded the use of hurricane icons on the cover of Gore’s book as “misleading”.
It was Hurricane Katrina and the insistence by Gore and his sycophant devotees that it was caused by global warming that helped to generate a nationwide hysteria concerning this issue.
All this is relatively old news. Now here are the actual numbers since Katrina. Forget about the models.
According to data from the Florida State University Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS), global tropical cyclone activity, which has been unusually inactive for the past three years, is now at its lowest level in at least 33 years. (2)
“Current Year-to-Date analysis of Northern Hemisphere and Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) and Power Dissipation Index (PDI) has fallen even further than during the previous 3-years,” reports COAPS hurricane scientist Ryan Maue.” The global activity is at 33-year lows and at a historical record low where Typhoons form in the Western Pacific.”
“While the North Atlantic has seen 15 tropical storms/hurricanes of various intensity and duration, the Pacific basin as a whole is at historical lows!” Maue explains. “In the Western North Pacific stretching from Guam to Japan and the Philippines and China, the current ACE value of 48 is the lowest seen since reliable records became available (1945) and is 78% below normal.”
Global and Northern Hemisphere Accumulated Cyclone Energy: 24 month running sum through September 30, 2010. Note that the year indicated represents the value of ACE through the previous 24-months for the Northern Hemisphere (bottom line/gray boxes) and the entire global (top line/light blue boxes). The area in between represents the Southern Hemisphere total ACE.
1. Knutson, Thomas R., et al. 2010. Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change. Nature Geoscience, 3: 157-163.