Re: [asa] Hurricanes and global warming

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Sun Aug 05 2007 - 22:36:31 EDT

I'm just now catching up on reading some of the
posts on the list I missed while traveling all
last week. This incoherent one is _crying_ for attention.

At 11:59 AM 7/30/2007, PIM wrote:
>What will the global warming deniers have to say
>about yet another data point undermining their position?
><QUOTE> "We're seeing a quite substantial
>increase in hurricanes over the last century,
>very closely related to increases in sea surface
>temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean,"
>says study author Greg Holland of the National
>Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.
>Working with hurricane researcher Peter Webster
>of Georgia Institute of Technology, Holland
>looked at sea records from 1855 to 2005 in a
>study published in the British journal
>Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
>A. The researchers found that average hurricane
>numbers jumped sharply during the 20th century,
>from 3.5 per year in the first 30 years to 8.4
>in the earliest years of the 21st century. Over
>that time, Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures
>increased .65 degrees, which experts call a significant increase. </QUOTE>

@ Who are these "deniers" you're talking about
who think that the earth hasn't alternated down
through its history between warming and cooling
to varying degrees? Please name them.

Below are two items for the reading pleasure of the real deniers:

Forecaster cuts 2007 hurricane outlook
reuters ^ | 07/24/2007

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The 2007 hurricane season may
be less severe than forecast due to
cooler-than-expected water temperatures in the
tropical Atlantic, private forecaster WSI Corp
said on Tuesday. "Because the ocean temperatures
have not yet rebounded from the significant drop
in late spring, we have decided to reduce our forecast numbers .."

Those who reject the junk science scam called
"Anthropomorphic global warming" have this to say:

Hurricane Hysteria
Cato Institute ^ | 23 Jul 07 | Patrick J. Michaels
Posted on 08/04/2007 4:19:23 PM EDT by GATOR NAVY

Besides being darned good forecasters, the good
people at the National Hurricane Center are also
paragons of social sensitivity. They give storms
names reflective of the cultures through which
they are likely to pass. Hurricanes in the
Atlantic basin are given anglicized names or ones
that are roughly similar in both English and
Spanish: Alberto, Bob, Gloria. In the Eastern
Pacific, where storms frequently hit western
Mexico, almost all the names are pure Spanish.

In this vein, I'd like to vote that this year's
"H" storm in the Atlantic be given the name
Hysteria. As in,
caused-by-global-warming-hysteria. As in, the
perception that there's been a tremendous
increase in the damage done by these storms caused by global warming.

The name should be "Hysteria," because that's simply, flatly, untrue.

Last month, Roger Pielke, Jr., director of the
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research
at the University of Colorado, released the most
comprehensive paper ever published on the subject
of damage trends in Atlantic hurricanes. The
article will appear soon in the peer-reviewed journal Natural Hazards Review.

Is the planet warmer than it was? Yes. Is there
any trend in hurricane-related damages in the
United States, where good records of damages
exist? After accounting simultaneously for
inflation, population, and property values, no.

The problem with these storms is that Americans
have a peculiar proclivity to take money and bury
it in a sand dune on a hurricane-prone beach,
i.e. a beach house. As a result, the number of
beach homes is going up and up, and because the
supply is limited (there's only so much beach),
prices have risen astronomically. And the costs
and sizes of the homes have also risen, given
that increases in real wealth have outpaced inflation.

Pielke's very clever (and elegant) methodology,
employing a simple algebraic equation, gives
hurricane damages in 2005-dollar equivalents.
That year's Katrina, a monster by any standard,
caused $81 billion worth of damage. Applied
Insurance Research, using a totally different method, estimated $82 billion.

But Katrina pales in comparison to the Great
Miami hurricane of 1926. Pielke gives two
estimates, averaging around $148 billion. AIR
pegs it at $160 billion. Given the trajectory of
property values and population in Florida, Pielke
notes that a $500 billion hurricane (in today's
dollars) should be quite likely by the 2020s.

A little history. After the Great Miami and
Katrina, the remaining top ten storms (in
descending order) occurred in 1900 (Galveston 1),
1915 (Galveston 2), 1992 (Andrew), 1983 (New
England), 1944 (unnamed), 1928 (Lake Okeechobee
4), 1960 (Donna/Florida), and 1969
(Camille/Mississippi). There is no obvious bias
toward recent years. In fact, the combination of
the 1926 and 1928 hurricanes places the damages
in 1926-35 nearly 15% higher than 1996-2005, the last decade Pielke studied.

What's more interesting are the trends. After
allowing only for inflation, hurricane damages
are indeed increasing. Rather, it's the other
factors the huge coastal population increases
and the rapidly appreciating property values that negate any trends.

The silence associated with this important
finding is deafening, and the results are
consistent with other science that is being ignored in the current climate.

One of Pielke's co-authors, Chris Landsea, from
the National Hurricane Center, has also found no
trends in hurricane frequency or intensity when
they strike the U.S. Sure, as is known to anyone
who has studied hurricane data, there has been an
increase in the number of strong storms in the
past decade, but there were also a similar number
of major hurricanes in the 1940s and 1950s, long
before such activity could be attributed to global warming.

As Pielke writes, "The lack of trend in twentieth
century normalized [inflation and
wealth-adjusted] hurricane losses is consistent
with what one would expect to find given the lack
of trends in hurricane frequency or intensity at landfall."

Hysteria begets cost, especially when politics gets involved.

For years now, Europe's big reinsurance companies
the people who insure the insurers has been
raising rates, claiming that global warming is making hurricane damages worse.

Interestingly, the American companies, using the
AIR data, are not as strident.

This works out to an interesting market
competition. People will obviously tend towards
the lower cost insurance, after adjusting for
coverage differences. Someone is going to go out
of business. Who will win here: Hurricane Hysteria, or the real world?

Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in
environmental studies at the Cato Institute and
author of Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of
Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.

This article appeared in the American Spectator on July 19, 2007.

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Received on Sun Aug 5 22:37:16 2007

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