Hurricanes and “Climate Change”

The recent spate of hurricane activity has offered an opportunity for many to blame “Climate Change” for more devastation, as exemplified by Eric Roston who published recently on the Bloomberg News website:   Article Link


He states:  “These days, as soon as winds hit 74 miles per hour or barometric pressure drops below 990 millibars, people want to know: Is climate change behind this hurricane? It’s an even more pressing question when a giant storm like Harvey is followed by an even more gigantic one like Irma, which itself is being followed by Jose and Katia.  Climate scientists continue to wrestle with the connection between global warming and individual storms, but they’re more confident than ever that there’s some linkage.”


Eric continues with 9 points that press the “Climate Change” scenario.  What follows is our response to these points, made in an effort to cut through the propaganda and provide a rational discussion of the points being made to facilitate understanding.


First of all it is worthwhile to briefly discuss “Climate Change” itself.  Since the 1980’s and 1990’s, CO2 causing “Global Warming”, made its ascendency.  But after 1998 when the temperature stopped warming (The Pause, or the Hiatus), it became rather embarrassing to continue hyping “Global Warming”, when most people noticed it wasn’t happening, so an alternative label had to be generated to perpetuate the mythical crisis, hence “Climate Change”, whereby no matter what the temperature did, “Climate Change” would still apply.  It is pretty much of a cliché that, sure, the climate is changing, it has always changed.  But when people who “believe the ‘Climate Change’ scenario” are pressed, they mean Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), being caused by human emitted CO2 increasing, and therefore causing warming.


In the field of science a single case that contradicts a theory is sufficient to disprove the theory.  As Albert Einstein once said about the book "One Hundred Authors Against Einstein": “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would be enough.”  


Also there is an entertaining video of Feynman describing the scientific method:

"In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works.  If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.  It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”   Richard Feynman on the Scientific Method


Before continuing on to discuss Eric’s 9 points, consider the following events:


From Rick Moran:  PJ Media on Irma :  On September 8, 1900, a Category 4 hurricane hit Galveston, “The Great Storm” (before hurricanes were named) is the worst natural disaster ever to occur in the US, possibly killing as many as 12,000 people.  Around 1945 is when most people say that the rapid increase in fossil fuel consumption began, so we don’t believe anyone could make the case that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 caused this hurricane.  With the discussion of the scientific method above, this one case destroys any possible belief that anthropogenic “Climate Change”, is causing the present hurricanes.


But there is more!  Alan Reynolds:  WUWT Article by Reynolds:

“But Harvey’s maximum rainfall of 51.88 inches barely exceeded that from Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978 (48”) and Hurricane Easy in 1950 (45”). And what about Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, which put down 42 inches in 24 hours near Houston (Harvey took three days to do that)?”


Addendum by Anthony Watts: 

“NOAA doesn’t think the alleged impact of anthropogenic CO2 on storm intensity is detectable.

… It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modeled (e.g., aerosol effects on regional climate). …  (Emphasis, ours.)

Read more: NOAA on Hurricanes


Now, on to Eric Roston’s 9 points:  Answers in [ DH ]


1. Is climate change to blame for Harvey and Irma?

Climate scientists are increasingly comfortable connecting global warming to the unprecedentedly high ocean temperatures that fuel some storms. Scientists in Germany and the U.K. drew a direct link between global warming and the intensity of Irma and the destructiveness of Harvey. Climate change can’t be blamed for the existence of these two juggernauts -- there have always been hurricanes, after all -- but it does shape the remarkable conditions they’re occurring in. The fuel for tropical storms is ocean heat, and each storm’s top winds have a theoretical speed limit, determined by how much of that fuel is in their tank.


[DH: These are misleading statements filled with innuendo.  “Climate scientists….” – who, how many, all?  No references.  No doubt those being paid by government would be “increasingly comfortable….”   “..unprecedently high ocean temperatures…”, clearly not substantiated.  Then Roston slips in the caveat:  “Climate change can’t be blamed…” but despite that, he goes on to imply that it is.]


[“The fuel for tropical storms is ocean heat….”  This may or may not be the case.  Below is a graph from Dr. Roy Spencer showing major hurricanes, Category 3 or larger, as red dots, that made landfall in Texas since 1870, along with Sea Surface Temperatures (SST):


[It is immediately obvious that there is no preference for higher SST.  Point 1 is effectively refuted.]


2. How hot is the ocean?

Hotter than at any previous moment in recorded history, thanks to human-driven climate change. The global average sea-surface temperature for July was 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the third-hottest July for oceans, behind 2016 and 2015. The waters where Irma was born were about 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal or 1 degree Celsius.


[DH:  There is no data establishing that SST is high “thanks to human-driven climate change”.  See comments to Point 1 about non-correlation of major hurricanes with high SST.]

[DH:  Below is a graph of the SST in the Sargasso Sea from 1,000 BC to 2,000, data from Dr. Cesare Emilliani at the University of Miami, showing SST well above recent times, in complete contradiction to the unsubstantiated, outlandish claim Roston makes in Point 2.]


In addition, in Ian Plimer’s book “Heaven and Earth”, 2009, page 99, “Data from the 3000 scientific robots in the world’s oceans shows that there has been a slight cooling over the past five years.”]


3. What does the extra heat do?

In addition to raising water temperatures, it heats up the air, which makes storms wetter. Every uptick in temperature increases the air’s water-holding capacity exponentially. As a result, there’s now at least 4 percent more water vapor in the air than a century ago.


[DH:   Again from comments on Point 1 there is no correlation with incidence of major hurricanes, and consider “The Great Storm” in Galveston, worst US natural disaster, ever, occurred in 1900 (more than a century ago), which, as the graph below shows, the average SST was at a very low point.]


  Average Global Sea Surface Temperature, 1850 – 2015, NOAA Data, 2016   EPA Data on SST


4. What does all that mean?

So far, the scientific consensus is that global warming will make more-intense storms more frequent, even if the total number of storms stays the same or drops.


[DH:  Consensus is a myth.   See “Consensus”, elsewhere in the Website.  Ample data exists, as described above that more intense storms are not becoming more frequent.  Looking at the United States, major hurricane activity is at a record low. Before Harvey, it had been 11 years and 10 months since a category 3 to 5 hurricane last struck the U.S. mainland. According to NOAA Hurricane Research Division data, the previous record was nine years, set in 1860-1869.]


5. How did scientists reach that consensus?

Climate scientists rely on powerful computer models that simulate the behavior of the atmosphere, oceans and land. Through testing, they make sure these model-Earths can reproduce weather events that have already occurred. Then the models can be used to project into the future. There is not as much historical data as scientists would like to support a more confident statement about hurricane frequency going forward.


[DH:  Hurricane prediction has been extremely poor, with forecasts in recent years, of major hurricane seasons, having produced very few to no hurricanes.  Below is a graph of Cyclone/Hurricane activity in recent years.]


                        Accumulated Cyclone Energy from 1970 through 2016


[DH:  Even the IPCC admits that, while one of its goals is to:  “Improve methods to quantify uncertainties of climate projections and scenarios, including development and exploration of long-term ensemble simulations using complex models. The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”  (Emphasis, ours.)]


[Other IPCC models, 102 of them, all erroneously based on CO2 theory, are wrong in their prediction of Global Temperature, and are all increasingly departing from reality.]



Global Temperature Anomaly from IPCC CO2-Based Models


6. What explains the recent run of quiet hurricane seasons?

The U.S. did indeed go without a strike by a major hurricane (Category 3 or above) between 2005 and 2017, the longest gap on record going back to 1851. But the Atlantic Ocean spun up some monster storms during that time. Last year, Hurricane Matthew killed more than 500 people across the Caribbean. In 2015, Hurricane Joaquin grew with explosive power, trapping the freighter El Faro and sinking it with the loss of all hands. In addition, 2010, 2011 and 2012 all posted 19 named storms, making them tied for most active year, along with 1995 and 1887. And Superstorm Sandy, which hit the U.S. in 2012, started as a hurricane near Jamaica. The U.S. also suffered billions in damages from smaller storms such as Ike in 2008 and Irene in 2011, which caused severe flooding as far north as Vermont.


[DH:  Hurricane Sandy started as a Category 3 Hurricane but had decreased to only Category 2 when it reached offshore from the Northeastern US, where it caused significant flooding, and was referred to as a “Superstorm” above.  The fact remains that before Harvey, it had been 11 years and 10 months since a category 3 to 5 hurricane last struck the U.S. mainland. According to NOAA Hurricane Research Division data, the previous record was nine years, set in 1860-1869.]


7. What else are scientists trying to figure out?

How the extra heat is changing overall atmospheric dynamics, and what the impact of those changes might be. Hurricane Harvey, for example, is one of several recent weather disasters marked by a shocking staying power, punishing whole regions for days or weeks on end -- or longer. Researchers are trying to understand climate change’s connection to episodes in which the jet-stream -- the high-flying river of air that meanders around the higher-to-mid latitudes -- gets locked into one place for an extended period. They suspect that may have played a role in a massive heatwave in Russia and flooding in Pakistan in 2010, the Texas drought of 2011 and the multiyear California drought that began around the same time.


[DH:  Governor Jerry Brown had blamed the California drought on “Climate Change”, but then declared in January, 2017, that the drought was over.  Did “Climate Change” then end???]


[DH:  As mentioned at the beginning of this report, other hurricanes have dumped more water in a shorter time than had Harvey.  The reason why flooding was so bad with Harvey, is that it remained in a fixed position for an extended period of time.  Would anyone be able to argue that this was due to “Climate Change”?  How do the physics of that work????]


8. What do scientists disagree about?

For one thing, how powerful an influence the Arctic, which is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet, has on weather extremes in the sub-tropics. There’s also a debate over whether the Atlantic has a long-term cycle of warming and cooling that’s separate from warming induced by industrialization.


[DH:  Here again are sweeping, unfounded, undocumented generalizations that can be shown to be false.  Consider area of Arctic Sea Ice:

1.            Dec., 2008:  12.5 million sq. Km

2.            Dec., 2013:  12.5 million sq. Km

3.            Dec., 2016:  12.5 million sq. Km]


[Claims have been repeatedly made that Greenland is losing ice.  But over the years 2014 – 2016 it has been adding ice.  There is also “Glacier Girl”: Near the end of WWII a squadron of P-38s was flying from the US to England, but encountered a severe storm over Iceland.  They were unable to fly around it, and had to head back, running low on fuel.  The squadron was forced to crash land on a glacier in Greenland and managed that without loss of life.  The planes were abandoned there in 1942.  In 1992, they were found 50 years later, buried under 268 feet of ice!  (One plane was recovered and rebuilt, named “Glacier Girl”.)]


Greenland has been adding ice in recent years

[DH:  Also 11 of the coldest 20 temperature readings over a hundred years at 4 weather stations in Greenland occurred in the years between 1971 and 2000.]


9. Are Irma and Harvey likely to change the climate debate?

The U.S. quickly went from world leader in global climate diplomacy to an outlier when President Donald Trump walked away from the 2015 Paris accords, which continue to be supported by virtually all other nations. There is interesting research into behavior and decision-making on climate and other issues. Extreme weather and palpable changes in long-term trends can be influential in helping people understand what’s going on — even if political affiliations restrict what they are comfortable saying out loud. On the other hand, the record hurricane year of 2005, when there were 28 named storms, including Katrina, was followed by deepening political polarization on the issue, in the U.S. if not elsewhere.


[DH: The whole climate debate is a political one, not a scientific one, as multiply demonstrated above.  Claims of “extreme weather”, “Climate Change” are baseless, but are used by politicians to create artificial crises in an effort to frighten people into giving up freedoms they would never otherwise agree to.]


[DH: The “Paris Accord” is clearly about money and not the environment.  Following the Paris Accord, according to projections would reduce the Earth’s temperature by only 0.05oC* at an estimated cost of $359 Trillion dollarsᵻ, most due from US.


*Why the Paris Accord is useless



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