Reality, Wrecking a Good Global Warming Buzz

By September 2, 2006Global Warming

Here’s an AP story that ran in today’s WaPo entitled, “A Tamer Forecast for Storm Season.” It notes that there is likely to be a “slightly below average year” for hurricanes, with only five forecast, down from the original estimate of seven.

Of course, this flies in the face of all the global warming hysterics who have been screaming about the effect of their theory on hurricanes. It was a great story as long as there were lots of hurricanes, but when the hurricanes petered out, well, so did their theory.

Hurricane expert Max Mayfield has always said hurricanes were cyclical. Kinda like climate change.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Pete H says:


    there was a paragraph break there for a reason. I transitioned from what seemed like a reasonable take on global climate change over geologic time, to the recent nonsense being hammered into the public’s mind by the media. The (thanks to Al) was supposed to clue you in that I was referring to the most widely quoted “global warming expert” Al Gore.

    As far as the IPCC being “the gold standard in climate research,” here is a quote from their website: “The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters.” Yes, that’s right, they look at other’s research and divine the truth.

    Furtherore, Dr. Trenberth clearly crossed the line from objective scientist to impassioned advocate when he intentionally misrepresented the work of the IPCC’s hurricane expert at several press conferences.

    The first IPCC science compendium, released back in 1990, had a warming prediction range of 1.5 degrees C to 4.5 degrees C over 100 years . In 2001, 12 years and tens of billions of research dollars later, the range was modified to 1.4 degrees C to 5.8 degrees C. OOPS, it looks like we got less precise over time. I am sure when the IPCC pulls its head out and “lowers both ends” we might be back to 0.75 degrees C +/- 0.25 degrees C over 50 years, now let me see, where have I heard that before…

    I mentioned that the anti-alarmist message wasn’t be carried by the newspapers or networks (again, implying that the alarmist message has been beaten to death by those sources). I don’t get my “honest science” from newspapers or networks, nor do I get it from a former vice president’s climate change cartoon.

    All I am saying is that people need to relax. There seems to be anthropogenic greenhouse gas hysteria lately. Before we run out to “do something” let’s figure out if it will actually “do anything.” Will shaving 10-20% off of our 7 gigatonnes of anthropogenic carbon dioxide really do anything? Is that even realistic without a major transition to nuclear power? Integral Fast Reactors anyone?

  • Pegasus says:

    While we wait for the IPCC report one thing is clear. That no matter the content there will not be enough definitive proof to convince either side in this debate. And while “the business as usual scenario” is certainly a dangerous one worse yet is the lack of consensus and apathy. Perhaps we should all focus less on climate change and more on changing perceptions.

  • Pete H first accepts the scientific consensus defined by the IPCC, and then berates the IPCC for being hijacked by political misrepresentation and wacky and unrealistic scenarios. But Pete mistakenly attributes worst case scenarios that are not a part of the IPCC assessment. No scientist has claimed a 20′ rise in sea level in decades. The global warming-hurricane link is a well recognized, even by Chris Landsea. Far from being denied press coverage, you can find this debate all over the press. Check out the September 2006 Smithsonian Magazine for the latest. The 5.8* C is not a prediction of warming in 50 years, but the upper end of the range of the expected climate response to a doubling of CO2. That range was higher in previous IPCC estimates (which you claim to approve of), and will probably be reduced further at both the high and the low ends in the next assessment in 2007. In other words, as research reduces the uncertainty, the probability of the best-case scenario becomes less likely. If you see shenanigans going on with the IPCC, but no shenanigans going on in Pat Cleary’s misunderstanding the effect of global warming on hurricanes, than perhaps you are disapproving the IPCC because you don’t approve of the outcome of the scientific research. If the IPCC is not the gold standard in global warming research, what is? The editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, perhaps? That’s where you’ll find plenty of Lindzen, if that’s your idea of honest science free of politically motivated rhetoric.

  • Pete H says:

    For some reason Dr. Trenberth, the lead author of the IPCC’s 2001 assessment, chose to “get political” at a press conferences and misrepresent the IPCC hurricane expert’s position on the hurricane-global warming link. Clearly there are some shenanigans going on with the IPCC and we can stop holding them up as the gold standard in global warming research.

  • Pete H says:

    We have seen that the newspapers and networks have no intention of letting the “anti-alarmist” position be heard. If they are given any ink or airtime, Lindzen, and others like him, are mis-characterized as “global warming skeptics.” This is the straw man, as they are not “skeptical of global warming” but rather they are skeptical of the alarmist claims of the anthropogenic forcings crowd.

    I believe we are seeing global climate change and that some part of it can be attributed to anthropogenic effects. This was also the position of the IPCC, Dr. Hansen and most other climate scientists. Up until about 2001 this effect was thought to be modest (by today’s standards) and relatively stable. The logarithmic response of temperature (to increasing greenhouse gases) was widely accepted by most climate scientists. The global warming predictions of 0.75 degrees C +/- 0.25 degrees C over 50 years were nothing to sneeze at. It was clear that natural global climate change was occurring and some of that warming was attributed to anthropogenic forcings.

    For some reason around 2001 the whole world seemed to go “global warming crazy.” None of the research I have seen justifies this shift from “modest and predictable” to the “wacky and unrealistic” scenarios that started getting the press. Talk of warming of 5.8 degrees C, partial melting of the polar ice caps & Greenland, sea level rises of 20-40 feet in mere decades, the extinction of 25% of the worlds species, etc… now get all the press (thanks Al).

  • You are misrepresenting the scientific argument here. No one has linked the number of hurricanes to global warming. Global warming theory does not predict an increase in the number of hurricanes, but an increase in the intensity of those that do form, over time. And it says nothing about local effects, but the global average. While the US has seen fewer hurricanes this season, as expected, the most intense hurricane in a century just hit China, and another superstorm is wrecking havoc in the Pacific now.

    ?Global warming hysterics?screaming?? Hardly. Judith Curry, Peter Webster, and Kerry Emmanuel are responsible qualified scientists who have published their research on the global warming signal in the increasing intensity of hurricanes in credible peer reviewed scientific journals. William Gray, on the other hand, insists that natural cycles alone explain the growing average intensity of hurricanes; but his theory that changes in the thermohaline circulation is responsible is nothing more than his personal idiosyncratic opinion. It has never been published, there is no evidence to back up his claim, and he remains virtually alone in his opinion.

    Don?t misrepresent the science, and then call it ?reality?. It destroys your credibility.

  • Ray Wills says:

    Accept the science of global warming, get on with the solutions.

    An enormous amount of scientific research has established that during the Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history, the climate has varied and changed on a wide range of time scales, due to natural causes and without human activities impacting. These cycles continue today.

    But, while the Earth’s climate is dynamic and climate change is normal and continuous, an equally voluminous amount of work has clearly established the enhanced greenhouse effect works on top of the natural cycles and is shifting temperatures (and sea levels and a whole range of other environmental effects) to a place they have never been in the history of man.

    Almost all scientific opinion on climate change, reported by UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by national science academies of the US and all other G8 nations as well as national science academies of Brazil, China and India, concludes that global warming is attributable to human activities.

    There are so few climate change sceptics with scientific credentials that they can be named individually. In another era they would belong to the flat earth society. The number of scientists that agree that humans are convincingly the cause of global warming fill whole scientific academies.

    Forecast for storms don’t say there will be more storms every year – as far as I am aware no scientist has said this. The occurrence of storms will still be influenced by natural cycles – the models tell us when these storms occur they will be much more intense.

    The science jury is not out, it has returned an overwhelming verdict – climate change and the substantial threat it poses to the whole planet is real. Its time to focus on solutions.

  • Nick says:

    Global warming doesn’t lead to forming more hurricanes. Rather, it predicts that those that do form will be, on average, more intense (because of warmer air feeding more energy into the system, I suppose). So just because this season has a low number of storms doesn’t disprove that global warming is occuring.

    To test something as complex as hurricanes, one could compare histograms of hurricane intensity over two respective periods. This would average out any random effect. I think there’s a natural hurricane cycle of 30 years or something like that. So one could tally the storm intensities from, say, 1965-1975 and compare that to the storms from 1995-2005 (although using the entire cycle would be more robust). Again, you’d have to pick the years carefully to make sure that one is really comparing hurricane intensities during the same stretch in the decadal cycle. But looking at just one year of data is misleading, since hurricane formation is a chaotic and random process.