A Free Voice

Global Warming & Storms: What connection?
June 6, 2008, 2:12 am
Filed under: global-warming | Tags:

A rumor about global warming is that hurricanes is that global warming (or climate change) is that hurricanes and other types of storms will become more frequent.  (This is used by many enviormentalists in their cause to fight global warming.)

Kerry Emanuel, a meteorologist and hurricane specialist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an interview with the New York Times released in January 10, 2006 said that even though he was once cautious about assuming that global warming and more frequent hurricane activity were connected he had then discovered “statistical evidence” that they were indeed tied together. Also on an earlier occasion he claimed,

My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and-taking into account an increasing coastal population- a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty- first century. (See Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years)

So obviously such a claim was going to likely be used by environmentalists to advance their agenda. But some scientists did challenge the claim.

According to a National Geographic article (entitled “Global Warming Link to Global Warming Intensity Questioned“) Christopher Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(or NOAA) claimed that the “historical data on hurricanes is too crude to determine long-term trends in intensity.” The article reports he said that,

Extreme hurricanes like Katrina were likely as common around the world 30 years ago as they are today [ . . .] But since satellite imagery was poorer, storm intensities were underreported.

Christopher Landsea is an interesting story. — The National Post reported that he was contacted by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a contributer to research on climate change and, his speciality: Hurricanes. (Click Here) His findings then were to be published. But later he found that IPCC’s Kevin Trenberth basically claimed that Landsea was going to warn about “outbreaks of intense hurricane activity” because of global warming.

In an open letterhe says that the IPCC was politicizing his expertise in the field of hurricanes and therefore decided to leave. — About hurricanes he said,

The evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricane will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted).

Well, predictions of the hurricane season of 2006 fueled blame of global warming. However, after the hurricane season ended, CNN news reported that the season bowed out quietly. — Somilarly, it was predicted that 2007 would be an active season, but when that season endedthose predictions were disproven as well. There were only two hurricanes and one fizzled out before it could make land fall and got downgraded. The one hurricane that did make land fall did minimal damage. So, all-in-all, the predictions were all wrong.

Very recently, the skeptics of hurricane tied global warming gained an unlikely ally: Kerry Emanuel himself who I mentioned at the beginning of this post as saying he found the connection.

In a study he released in March 2008 for the American Meteorological Society entitled Hurricanes and Global Warming: Results from Downscaling IPCC AR4 Simulations” he says that,

A new technique for deriving hurricane climatologies from global data, applied to climate models,indicates that global warming should reduce the global frequency of hurricanes,though their intensity may increase in some locations.

In an article in the Houston Chronicle, Kerry said that the results of this study surprised him. It also reported,

The new work suggests that, even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries.

It should be noted that Kerry Emanuel is described as “one of the most influential scientists behind the theory that global warming has intensified recent hurricane activity” so perhaps this may cause many other scientists to reconsider their positions also.


2 Comments so far
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May I predict the future myself? If 2008’s will be an above-average hurricane season, papers will get published linking climate change to stronger hurricane seasons.

If 2008’s will be a below-average hurricane season, papers will get published linking climate change to weaker hurricane seasons.

If 2008’s will be an average hurricane season, papers will get published claiming there is no link between climate change and the strength of hurricane seasons…

Comment by omnologos

Yeah. I agree. They are already predicting the 2008 hurricane season will be above normanl. See: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/05/22/hurricane.season/index.html

But now I have so little faith in these predictions, seeing as they have failed most of the time.

Comment by krissmith777

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