Hurricane Smurricane

A Hurricane by any other name would still be a tropical cylclone. The usual denialist suspects are making a big deal out the the mild Hurricane season we had in the North Atlantic. Since it's likely to be an el Nino year next year they can probably expect another mild one next year.

None of this has much relevance to the (in my opinion) still speculative notion that global warming produces a larger proportion of intense tropical storms. The relevant word here, as always, is "global." A hot day at Aunt Melba's house doesn't prove global warming, and a cold one doesn't disprove it. Ditto, a mild season or two in one ocean basin. As it happens, this has been a somewhat violent season in the Pacific (there are two tropical cyclones in the Pacific and one in the Indian Ocean, right now. As always, cherry picking the evidence is the favorite tool of every scientific fraudster, from anti-evolutionist to GW denier.


  1. Ask and ye shall receive.


    Trends in global tropical cyclone activity over the past twenty years (1986–2005)

    Philip J. Klotzbach

    Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA


    The recent destructive Atlantic hurricane seasons and several recent publications have sparked debate over whether warming tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are causing more intense, longer-lived tropical cyclones. This paper investigates worldwide tropical cyclone frequency and intensity to determine trends in activity over the past twenty years during which there has been an approximate 0.2°–0.4°C warming of SSTs. The data indicate a large increasing trend in tropical cyclone intensity and longevity for the North Atlantic basin and a considerable decreasing trend for the Northeast Pacific. All other basins showed small trends, and there has been no significant change in global net tropical cyclone activity. There has been a small increase in global Category 4–5 hurricanes from the period 1986–1995 to the period 1996–2005. Most of this increase is likely due to improved observational technology. These findings indicate that other important factors govern intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones besides SSTs.

    Received 3 February 2006; accepted 18 April 2006; published 20 May 2006.

    Index Terms: 1610 Global Change: Atmosphere (0315, 0325); 1616 Global Change: Climate variability (1635, 3305, 3309, 4215, 4513); 3374 Atmospheric Processes: Tropical meteorology.

  2. Arun,

    Chris Landsea and Phil Klotzbach, and Bill Gray are one pole of the debate. On the other side are Kerry Emmanuel, Judy Curry, and Greg Holland are the other. Here is paper by Webster, Holland, Curry and Chang: Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment


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