May 26, 2006

Hurricane/Global Warming Linkage Takes Another Hit

Filed under: Hurricanes

We have covered many papers in the recent scientific literature that do not support the hypothesis that global warming has led, or will lead, to large changes in the intensity of tropical cyclones (see here and here and here). Michaels et al. (2006), Pielke Jr. et al. (2006), and Hoyos et al. (2006), all present evidence that the tropical cyclone regime, at least in the Atlantic basin, during the past 20-30 years, is a complex combination of the interactions of several different environmental factors that include sea surface temperatures (SST), vertical wind shear, and atmospheric stability, among others. The variations and trends of these parameters are often not what has been projected by models for anthropogenerated global warming. The climate models also project far more modest changes in hurricane intensity than are being observed. This is further evidence that factors other than those directly related to anthropogenic climate change are influencing observed trends and variations in tropical cyclones. These other factors include cyclical, or quasi-cyclical, oscillations as well as possible observational biases in the record resulting from changing technology and observing practices that have evolved over the past century or so.

These results do not support the hypotheses of Emanuel (2005) and Webster et al. (2005) that link large changes in the intensity of tropical cyclones primarily to increased SST caused by global warming

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May 25, 2006

More Evidence of Arctic Warmth (a long time ago)

There are a lot of folks running around shouting that recent Arctic warming is, to use a favorite alarmist word, “unprecedented”—which means, to them at least, that we are approaching “dangerous” levels of climate change. It seems a bit odd to equate “unprecedented” with “dangerous,” since the former implies something that is novel, while the latter implies something that is known. So, for instance, since we know that for a good 90% of the past 400,000 years the earth was locked into ice age conditions, it would seem that a “precedented” cooling would be perceived to be far more “dangerous” than an “unprecedented” warming, wouldn’t it? But we digress.

In any case, how close to being “unprecedentedly” warm are we in our northerly latitudes? (We focus here on the Arctic because the Antarctic has been cooling for the past several decades, so that pretty much eliminates temperatures there from being unprecedented).

The answer, not very.

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May 17, 2006

Hurricane Debate Rages On

Filed under: Hurricanes

Two new hurricane/climate change articles just hit the street, in the form of a back-and- forth discussion in the May 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society (BAMS). While both agree that our coastal population continues to become more vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones, the papers cite dramatically different causes.

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May 11, 2006

Setting the Record Straight

Laurie David, the primary force behind HBO’s recent global warming “documentary” as well as a recent Fox News special (see here for our review), has seen fit to comment on Dr. Patrick Michaels’ publication record in her May 10, 2006 entry on Arianna Huffington’s blog site.

For some reason, Ms. David decides to attack Dr. Michaels’ credentials to comment about the results of his own peer-reviewed scientific paper he just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on Atlantic basin tropical cyclones and their possible behavioral changes resulting from rising temperatures (see here for more details of the results).

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May 10, 2006

Major Hurricanes: More, but not Stronger

Filed under: Hurricanes

We have a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters in which we find that it is plausible that a future rise in sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean will lead to a greater number of major hurricanes (categories 3 through 5), but that it should not lead to an increased intensity of these storms (Michaels et al., 2006).

The ultimate intensity that a storm achieves is less dependent on the underlying SST than it is on a myriad other environmental factors, such as vertical wind shear and atmospheric stability—which that are less clearly related to anthropogenic greenhouse-related changes than is SST. Our results call into question how significantly future global warming will impact Atlantic tropical cyclones and whether or not such an impact is currently detectable.

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May 4, 2006

Winds of Change?

Big news is coming out of Nature magazine that there has been a weakening of the atmospheric circulation over the tropical Pacific Ocean—and it is caused by anthropogenic changes to the earth’s greenhouse effect (of course). What effect might this have on the climate? According to an AP story, “It’s not clear what climate changes might arise in the area or possibly beyond, but the long-term effect might resemble some aspects of an El Nino event, a study author said.”

Hmmm. This sounds like an open door for anything. To paraphrase “We’re not sure what might happen, so anything bad that does happen anywhere might be related to this. So go for it!”

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Reconciliation…

By and large, the much-touted new report by U. S. Climate Change Science Program (USCCSP) titled Temperature trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences, amounts to little more than throwing water on a fire that has, for the most part, already gone out.

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