View Full Version : Environment Time Rejects Climate Change as Cause of Storm Intensity

09-08-2008, 12:06 PM
Magazine reports disasters worse due to population, not global warming

By Julia A. Seymour
Business & Media Institute
9/5/2008 3:39:18 PM

Readers familiar with Time magazine’s global warming alarmism might have expected the publication to name climate change the culprit being worsening natural disasters. But they’d be wrong.

On September 3, Time.com examined “Why Disasters Are Getting Worse,” and the answer was “not for the reasons you may think.”

Reporter Amanda Ripley acknowledged the expectation that Time would blame global warming: “It is tempting to look at the lineup of storms in the Atlantic Ocean (Hanna, Ike, Josephine) and, in the name of everything green, blame climate change for this state of affairs.”

“But there is another inconvenient truth out there: We are getting more vulnerable to weather mostly because of where we live, not just how we live,” Ripley said.

The problem, according to the article, is more about exploding populations in hurricane-prone areas and less about more intense storms. For example, Miami-Dade County’s population has risen 1,600 percent since the 1930s.

Ripley wrote that, “If climate change is having an effect on the intensities of storms, it’s not obvious in the historical weather data.” She cited Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, who said, “There has been no trend in the number or intensity of storms at landfall since 1900.”

Now that so many people (and all their stuff) reside on the coastlines, “each big hurricane costs more than the big one before it, even controlling for inflation.” Developing on the coasts has also destroyed natural protections against storms, Ripley said.

It was not long ago that Time magazine was promoting a link between hurricanes and global warming. The April 9, 2007, issue that presented readers with a 44-page “Global Warming Survival Guide” claimed that if a parade of disasters “didn’t quiet most of the remaining global-warming doubters, the hurricane-driven destruction of New Orleans did.” The story went on to blame Hurricane Katrina on global warming.

In the past, Time ignored weather experts who deny that stronger hurricanes are caused by global warming. Instead the magazine promoted the IPCC’s take that it’s “more likely than not” that man is responsible.

The magazine has a lengthy history of promoting climate change alarmism.

In April 2008, Managing Editor Richard Stengel defended the magazine’s “attention getting” decision to use the iconic image of Marines raising an American flag at Iwo Jima with the flag replaced by a tree.

In that defense, Stengel ridiculed the notion of objective journalism saying, “[T]his notion that journalism is objective, or must be objective is something that has always bothered me – because the notion about objectivity is in some ways a fantasy. I don’t that there is as such a thing as objectivity.

Even before Stengel argued on behalf of advocacy journalists, the magazine had declared the “case closed on global warming.” According to Bryan Walsh’s article in the Feb. 19, 2007 issue, “the price of inaction (on global warming) will be enormous.” Time also claimed in 2006 that “the serious debate (over global warming) has quietly ended.”

The hundreds of skeptical scientists who question man’s impact on climate change would disagree.

09-08-2008, 12:27 PM
“There has been no trend in the number or intensity of storms at landfall since 1900.”

This is conceded. The number of US cyclone to hit landfall has shown no movement. However:

3.) Q: Is the intensity of hurricanes increasing with time?

A: There is some evidence that it is. Records of hurricane activity worldwide show an upswing of both the maximum wind speed in and the duration of hurricanes. The energy released by the average hurricane (again considering all hurricanes worldwide) seems to have increased by around 70% in the past 30 years or so, corresponding to about a 15% increase in the maximum wind speed and a 60% increase in storm lifetime.

4.) Q: But aren’t there lots of errors in the hurricane record?

A: Yes, there are. Reliable records of wind speeds in hurricanes over the open ocean go back only to around 1950, when aircraft reconnaissance of hurricanes began over the North Atlantic and western North Pacific; before that, the only good measurements of wind speed were made when hurricanes made landfall or passed over islands or ships with measuring equipment. Unfortunately, methods of measuring or estimating wind speed from aircraft have evolved over time, and these changes were not always well documented. Since about 1980, there are wind estimates for all hurricanes globally, based on satellite images, but these are not as good as aircraft measurements.

5.) Q: Then how can you determine trends with such data?

A: Fortunately, the means of estimating the central surface pressure in hurricanes have remained fairly constant with time. In practice, central pressure is well correlated with maximum wind speed, and therefore can be used to detect changes in the way winds were estimated from pressures. Also, in a large enough sample of events, the wind speeds are well correlated with a quantity call the “potential intensity”, which is a function of the temperature of both the ocean and atmosphere. We have fairly good records of the information needed to calculate potential intensity, and so can compare estimated wind speeds with estimated potential intensity for large enough samples. This is another check on the quality of the wind estimates. Even in the Southern Hemisphere, where there have never been aircraft observations of hurricanes, the satellite-based estimates compare well with estimates of potential intensity.

6.) Q: You say that reliable records of hurricane wind speeds go back only to about 1950, so how can you say that there were not even more intense storms before 1950? How can you assert that the upswing in the last 50 years is a consequence of global warming?

A: We cannot say for sure. What we can say is that everywhere we have looked, the change in hurricane energy consumption follows very closely the change in tropical sea surface temperature. When the sea surface temperature falls, the energy consumption falls, and conversely, when it rises, so too does the energy consumption. Both theory and models of hurricane intensity predict that this should be so as well. In contrast to the hurricane record, the record of tropical ocean temperature is less prone to error and goes back 150 years or so. Moreover, geochemical methods have been developed to infer sea surface temperature from corals and from the shells left behind by micro-organisms that live near the surface; these can be used to estimate sea surface temperature for the past several thousand years. These records strongly suggest that the 0.5 degree centigrade (1 degree Fahrenheit) warming of the tropical oceans we have seen in the past 50 years is unprecedented for perhaps as long as a few thousand years. Scientists who work on these records therefore believe that the recent increase is anthropogenic.
Kerry Emanuel
Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA


09-08-2008, 12:32 PM
I would also echo the articles concern about where we are building. As a tax payer I do not endorse the Flood and Hurricane Insurance offered people who live on the coast. I would hold these lands along with delta regions, in trust for the protection against the damage from Hurricanes. So I agree that our zoning thrust should be different.

09-08-2008, 01:41 PM
I think that hurricanes are worse today because we have 24 hour news. Overkill coverage makes things seem worse than they are.

09-08-2008, 01:55 PM
I think that hurricanes are worse today because we have 24 hour news. Overkill coverage makes things seem worse than they are.I agree. White woman dying is also much worse than it's ever been.

09-08-2008, 02:02 PM
I agree. White woman dying is also much worse than it's ever been.


Can we stop Killer_Clown from posting garbage GW articles in the DC?

09-08-2008, 02:03 PM

Can we stop Killer_Clown from posting garbage GW articles in the DC?

wow dude, you the DC police?!?

09-08-2008, 02:40 PM
wow dude, you the DC police?!?

No, it's just tiresome to have to come in and tell him he's 100% wrong with the article he copied and pasted.