Global Warming to Reduce Atlantic Hurricanes? Debate Continues.

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One of the oft-expressed worries is that man-made global warming will boost the number and power of hurricanes. Last year, Greg Holland from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. reported that global warming had doubled the number of hurricanes over the course of the 20th century. However, a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience finds that global warming may actually reduce the number of Atlantic hurricanes in the 21st century.

The image

According to Bloomberg.com, climate modeler Thomas Knutson at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds

"This study does not support the notion that increasing greenhouse gases are causing a large increase in Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm frequency," the paper's lead author, Thomas Knutson, a NOAA scientist, said May 16 in a conference call with reporters. "Rather for future climate conditions we simulate a reduction." …

Knutson and colleagues plugged data from each of the hurricane seasons from 1980 to 2006 into their model. They then altered atmospheric and temperature data to reflect possible scenarios for conditions at the end of this century published last year by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Under the altered conditions—including sea surface temperatures 1.72 degrees Celsius warmer than now—they found that tropical storm numbers declined by 27 percent and hurricanes by 18 percent. Storm systems with winds of at least 100 miles an hour more than doubled. 

If increased hurricane activity is not responsible for rising damage, what is? In February, NOAA explained what is happening:

A team of scientists have found that the economic damages from hurricanes have increased in the U.S. over time due to greater population, infrastructure, and wealth on the U.S.  coastlines, and not to any spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes.

The debate continues.

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  1. A team of scientists have found that the economic damages from hurricanes have increased in the U.S. over time due to greater population, infrastructure, and wealth on the U.S. coastlines, and not to any spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes.

    The team of scientists was headed by Captain Obvious and Doctor Welcome-To-Last-Week-Population-You.

  2. Well, I guess Thomas Knutson is a denier now.

    Burn him! Burn the witch! He weighs the same as a duck!

  3. But I thought there was no such thing as global warming (or, err, climate change).

    Now since we’ve clearly realized that it is, in fact, a good thing, can we accellerate it? Or wait… that’s right, we don’t have an impact on the global environment…

    I’m so confused!

  4. tropical storm numbers declined by 27 percent and hurricanes by 18 percent. Storm systems with winds of at least 100 miles an hour more than doubled.

    So fewer, but more intense. Good thing my uncle bought that Galveston condo, not me.

    Of course, let’s all not forget that computer simulations of the weather are more properly described as “guesses”, not predictions.

  5. Thomas Knutson is certainly not a denier.

    In fact, he has gone public with complaints about the Bush administration censoring his work about global warming.

    Nice “all men are John” fallacy, Episiarch.

  6. joe, post again when you grope around on the floor for a while and find your sense of humor. I think you lost it last night while stumbling home drunk.

  7. Episiarch,

    So you’re saying you don’t want to burn Knutson after all? 😉

  8. Remember the fun we had?

    Call me. I miss you.

  9. It has long been established that joe has no humor detection device.

  10. Once again, we see that no one knows shit about the weather.

  11. Hint to joe in programming any new HDDs he buys:

    If there is a monty python reference within the post, it is probably a joke.

  12. Oh, good, you weren’t trying to make a point about the reception scientists get.

    Glad we cleared that up. Because it looked for all the world like you were.

    But I guess not.

  13. See, I should have known that right away, because no one ever used humor when making a serious point.

    Like, if someone wanted to accuse people who support the scientific consensus on global warming of being witch-hunters, there’s no way they’d ever make that point in a humorous manner.

    How silly of me. Nobody ever uses humor except when they have no point to make.

  14. Once again, we see that no one knows shit about the weather.

    I was promised Local Climate Change at 1 PM on Saturday, so I rushed to mow my lawn, even though it wasnt yet truly dry, before the thunderstorms moved in. They were off by 10 hours.

    Applying the same kinda time scales of error to GCC, we should gain a few degress over the next 1000 years.

    I got bettah.

  15. If there is a monty python reference within the post, it is probably a joke.

    joe’s ability to see this, even for incredibly obvious Holy Grail quotes, is questionable. But that relates back to the humor impairment.

    “Humorously Challenged”? “Comedy Impairment Syndrome”? “Takes-things-too-serious-itis”? “Hyper-self-importantism”?

  16. joe, what the fuck happened to your life to leave you at this point?

  17. The debate continues.

    No, no, Al has assured us the debate is over. Denialist!

  18. dhex,

    When the rout is on, you run through the other guys’ camp hooting and hollering. That’s how it works.

  19. robc,

    It is easy to predict how many coin flips out of 1000 will come up heads.

    It is difficult to predict what the next flip of the coin will be.

    It is easy to predict, to a certain degree of accuracy, how many home runs Manny Ramriez will have this season.

    It is all-but-impossible to predict how many he will have on July 12.

  20. A team of scientists have found that the economic damages from hurricanes have increased in the U.S. over time due to greater population, infrastructure, and wealth on the U.S. coastlines, and not to any spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes.

    That’s especially amusing because the same trend is probably respomsible for some proportion of the measured temperature rise.

    http://www.surfacestations.org/

  21. Yes, keep pretending the problem is the joke, not the point you were making with the joke.

  22. TD,

    LOL!

    Didn’t hurricane damage increase exponentially when they stopped calling it “wind and rain”?

    This is getting so silly that I can not even guess at what the next natural cycle change will be blamed on.

  23. joe, give us your life story. It’d go a long way to helping us understand what makes you you. Tell us the heartbreaks, the good times and the bad, the struggles and the victories. Try to structure it like a VH1 “Behind the Music” special, as that would be more entertaining.

    “When we come back–joe’s descent into humorlessness.”

  24. Didn’t hurricane damage increase exponentially when they stopped calling it “wind and rain”?

    The number also increased when we started finding more with satellites.

    In some sense, it’s like the poverty numbers: by 1950s standards, pretty much no one lives under the poverty line today. But the scale keeps sliding up.

  25. joe,

    I understand why LCC and GCC are different, hence the reason I added the monty python quote on the end of my post, so you would possibly realize I WAS KIDDING!

    It was a sorta Turing Test. Only for humour instead of humanness. You passed. Or failed. Depending on what the goal was.

  26. This is getting so silly that I can not even guess at what the next natural cycle change will be blamed on.

    I’m betting on acid rain making a comeback. I remember being told by the Al Gores of the 1980s that it was going to kill us all by now.

  27. humour

    Huh. I turned British today, apparently. Must have been the python stuff.

  28. Once again, shilling for Big Hurricane…

  29. For a humorless guy, I certainly do win a lot of threads and get a lot of larfs.

  30. When the rout is on, you run through the other guys’ camp hooting and hollering.

    TEAM RED TEAM BLUE GO TEAM GO

    it’s ha ha funny but it’s also a terrible tragedy.

    but more to my original point: i meant more about your transformation from being a relatively reasonable voice from outside to a 24/7 insufferable cunt doing your rendition of john with spellcheck. what is your takeaway from this? does it make you feel better? i’d think so, but then again maybe that’s not the point. some people like yelling at the tv. i don’t, personally, but i can appreciate that some folks do. but such bitter repetition?

    maybe that’s just a function of being human and getting caught in a loop. i don’t really know.

    but it did put me in mind of this.

  31. “joe, give us your life story. It’d go a long way to helping us understand what makes you you.”

    He’s 5’1″. Nothing more needs to said.

  32. I’m betting on acid rain making a comeback. I remember being told by the Al Gores of the 1980s that it was going to kill us all by now.

    Oh yea, forgot about that one! TY

    Acid rain, combined with increased wind & rain human caused hurricanes, will disolve western civilization.

    Next in que: ozone holes and skin cancer.

  33. joe fails at two Python quotes in a row. Wow.

  34. Acid rain, combined with increased wind & rain human caused hurricanes, will disolve western civilization.

    Next in que: ozone holes and skin cancer.

    ugh, fat fingers. preview is my friend. preview is my friend. preview is my friend.

  35. robc,

    There are so many people who make that same argument in all seriousness that it’s tough to tell. Look at how far people tried to stretch the fact that January was cold!

    A reasonable person trying to make an absurd argument in imitatin of the American right in the early 21st century is taking on a hopeless task.

  36. dhex,

    TEAM RED TEAM BLUE GO TEAM GO

    As much as I’d like to believe that scientific knowledge is the inalienable property of the Democrats, I just can’t agree with you.

    Why must you inject partisan politics into everything?

  37. Perhaps the new hurricanes will help with that “old is new again” fuel from the sea to help us break the human bondage that is petrol?

  38. Why must you inject partisan politics into everything?

    BAHAHAHHAHA! Yea, you are right, you do get lots of laughs joe.

    Back to ignoring you and cleaning off my monitor.

  39. but more to my original point: i meant more about your transformation from being a relatively reasonable voice from outside to a 24/7 insufferable cunt doing your rendition of john with spellcheck.

    Nothing. I’ve always written like this. You just don’t notice it as much when you are sympathetic to my position.

  40. Look at how far people tried to stretch the fact that January was cold!

    Look at how far people tried to stretch the fact that April was hot!

  41. I just figured it out. joe is also John (with spellcheck off), TallDave, and Neil. It’s sort of like Charleton Heston playing chess with himself in The Omega Man–he needs to fill his time with something, and the rest of us just don’t post fast enough.

  42. Yah, 2008 is still tracking to be the coolest year in maybe a decade, even with all the known surface station problems. I think the official line is that El Nina is to blame.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt

    And a lot of those numbers seem a bit screwy. Look at the early years, esp. around 1920. That’s the same period Arctic explorers reported unprecedented reductions in sea ice. Yet we’re being told temperatures were much colder then.

    And it’s hard to believe we have good global numbers pre-1920 anyway. But it makes for a really scary graph.

  43. Oh, good, everybody is talking about me.

    Because it is all about me, you know.

    Thanks, everyone! And, could you please write a few more comments about me?

    Because it’s totally awesome when you do that.

    *kiss, kiss*

  44. “Next, on Behind the joe–joe develops a Napoleon Complex.”

  45. There ya go.

  46. joe,

    There are so many people who make that same argument in all seriousness that it’s tough to tell.

    I realize this. Which is why I gave you a fucking indicator. While were supposed to think I was serious, then read the last line, recoginize the python quote, and go “Oh, he was just kidding, that was parody, good one, he almost got me”. Especially, since I pointed out the Monty Python rule in my previous post.

    But, instead, you fell for it. I dont normally troll, but that was fun. I guess it isnt technically trolling when you are going after a specific person, is it?

  47. Look at how far people tried to stretch the fact that January was cold!

    Well, look at the data. It was the largest one-year change ever measured in the 130 years of data they have.

    You can bet if we saw that change go the other way we’d be told it was a crisis.

  48. How about just not trolling, robc? How about writing something about, oh, I don’t know, global warming and Atlantic hurricaines?

    I just shouldn’t matter this much to you.

  49. TallDave,

    You can bet if we saw that change go the other way we’d be told it was a crisis.

    Yeah, you see this go both ways. The comments section of my local paper must run “Global Warming? It snowed yesterday!” contributions about every other day from October through April.

  50. You just don’t notice it as much when you are sympathetic to my position.

    naw, i don’t give a good golly fuck about global warming one way or the other. for, against, whatever.

    what i’m talking about is a change that’s happened over the past several years. and it’s not about your positions so much as your personality. you’ve gotten darker, more severe, and far more quick to anger. i’m sure you have your reasons why, but i wonder if you think about them at all, or if you find any wry, bitter humor in that whole thing about not staring into abysses and shit.

    obviously, i don’t think it’s a democrat or republican thing beyond the need to break down issues into “teams” and whose team is for what, and whatnot. that kind of tribalism is common amongst libertoid, radical feminists, breathatarians and several other categories of marginalized assholes as well as the major players. the teams thing is a tragedy because this sort of thing (i.e. politics) probably shouldn’t come down to a neverending subway series, but on the other hand what has it ever been?

    so perhaps i’m just being naive. but still, i wonder.

  51. My life’s never been better.

    I like to slap down anti-science arguments on global warming threads becasue they are insulting and dangerous.

    You want dark and severe? Go back to the Iraq threads from way back when.

  52. “After the break–as joe’s personal life crumbles, his public persona undergoes a dark transformation.”

  53. I like to slap down anti-science arguments on global warming threads becasue they are insulting and dangerous.

    insulting and dangerous? to whom? to what?

  54. dhex,

    To whom? To me.

    To what? To the well-being of society.

    Episiarch adds his usual contribution – “joe’s bad, mm-kay?”

  55. How about just not trolling, robc?

    LOL!!!! Okay joe, I will be reading you more now that you have your stage material all polished up!

  56. For a humorless guy, I certainly do win a lot of threads and get a lot of larfs.

    Now that’s funny.

  57. joe,

    Can you provide some funnies over at the “Offer a Ride, Lose Your Car” thread? Edward is visiting there too, as if you did not already know . . .

  58. Well, for a while now it hasn’t been about reality. It’s been about who has the “best” computer model, which is to say, who has the best tea leaves or crystal ball. The current (probably temporary) warming trend is real enough. It’s the computer models that are suspect, and should be looked at with a very skeptical eye.

  59. Seems like another Bailey strawman post.

    Notice this (already noted by several others)…

    Storm systems with winds of at least 100 miles an hour more than doubled.

    So, the study finds not an increase in frequency, but an increase in intensity.

    This is not really related to this…

    A team of scientists have found that the economic damages from hurricanes have increased in the U.S. over time due to greater population, infrastructure, and wealth on the U.S. coastlines, and not to any spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes.

    But Ron presents it as if they support each other in some way.

    Historically, the main thing driving the increased dollar value of damage is that there is more stuff on the cost to destroy. This is a more important factor than any historical increase in storm intensity (if it is present).

    But in the context of more intense storms (supported by the study cited) that would work to increase the consequences of more than double the number of storms having 100 mile an hour winds.

    No?

    Yes, the debate continues, but I am always surprised at the way it is framed here…

  60. So, anyway, Atlantic hurricaines and the Knutson study:

    His modeling finds that wind speeds might decrease a little, while rainfall amounts increase a lot. This would suggest less wind damage, but more flooding.

    Assuming the two changes would roughly cancel each other out in terms of damage (all else being equal), it would still be an uneven trade if the mean sea level is higher.

    The problem with rising levels isn’t that they will rise so much that currently-dry places will be permanently underwater (with a few exceptions), but that flood levels will be that much higher during extreme events.

  61. Er, decrease a little in some situations.

  62. ed,

    Skeptical is indeed the eye that should be aimed at all science. But it is important to be an informed skeptic.

    Too many people that post here seem to be comparing the peer-reviewed scientific models that take years to develop and test with their own gut intuition.

    Unless you’ve got Stephan Colbert’s gut, well…

  63. Neu Mejican | May 19, 2008, 12:09pm | #

    Seems like another Bailey strawman post.

    Wow, joe, you are really tearing it up today! LOL!

    Didn’t Radley just remind you of youe sock puppeting over on one of his threads?

  64. And, of course, the study does not conflict with the standard model people are using…

    The findings on rainfall and intensity agree with the forecast made last year by the IPCC that it is “likely” future hurricanes will become more intense with heavier rain and greater peak wind speeds. The panel at the time said there is less certainty in forecasts relating to the frequency of storms.

    “My current research leads me to fully agree with Knutson et al. on the rainfall and intensity changes,” Holland said in his e-mail. “Careful and objective studies such as this are welcomed and I strongly encourage more work on this important topic.”

    So why present it as if it did?

  65. Guy,

    Sorry, I don’t need to be included in your pillow fight with joe (you sorority girls are always so catty).

    We disagree quite frequently on GW threads…particularly in terms of what counts as evidence, or what the evidence implies.

  66. Just like joe and Neil. Wow, the evidence is mounting.

  67. It seems more like Guy is presenting a smokescreen…like maybe he is Neil, and if Neil is joe…that means Guy is joe too…I mean I never see Guy posting when joe is drinking water…

    Evidence is mounting.

  68. New Mejican has been here longer than you, Tuff Gai.

    Guilty conscience about the sock-puppetry?

    Seriously, has anyone other than Neil ever complimented Guy on his intelligence?

  69. So the evidence suggests this manic hierarchy:

    joe has a sockpuppet-Guy Montag who has gained independent reality and begun posting his own sockpuppet – Neil.

    And perhaps, given the animosity, there is an older mania involved…

    Ron Bailey creates a sockpuppet adversary, joe, who then takes on independent reality and starts a wave of sockpuppet partisans that increase H&R hits many fold.

    Brilliant.

  70. Or maybe there are just a group of people posting…

    Occam’s razor and all.

    Joe passes a turing test, methinks…Guy, probably does too…Neil, not so much.

  71. It is now fucking official….any weather phenomena, no matter what it is, now proves man made global warming…

    Cuz we all fucking know before man started driving SUVs this planet had no weather.

  72. joshua corning,

    How do you get that from the study Ron posted?

    Serious question…it doesn’t follow at all as far as I can tell.

  73. Assuming the two changes would roughly cancel each other out in terms of damage (all else being equal), it would still be an uneven trade if the mean sea level is higher.

    Most of the catastrophic flooding from hurricanes is a function of the storm surge, not the rain. The storm surge is caused by the pressure differential in the eye, which is also what drives the wind speeds.

    So I doubt they’ll cancel each other out. Still, more severe storms are bad. I would only point out that the increase is based on feeding the results of the IPCC model into yet another model, so I wouldn’t get too excited about the Coming Catastrophe On Our Coasts.

  74. To whom? To me.

    To what? To the well-being of society.

    hokay.

    that’s odd.

  75. RC,

    Most of the catastrophic flooding from hurricanes is a function of the storm surge, not the rain. Right, and I hope I didn’t leave the wrong impression. I’m talking about the two – more rain and larger storm surges – making flooding worse overall, not that the rain would cause a larger storm surge. I can see how I could have phrased that better.

  76. So, it is settled. Human-induced Global Warming is a hoax.

    Ron, please update the last line of your post.

  77. Guy,

    If it’s a hoax, it is a very old hoax…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg

  78. Neu Mejican,

    Not going to that URL from work, but you heard of Human-induced Global Warming before the 1980s? Or is that your idea of “very old”?

  79. Guy,

    That link is to a youtube posting of an excerpt on CO2 induced global warming from Frank Capra’s “The Unchained Goddess,” an educational short on weather and climate from 1958.

  80. Basic info on the show…

    http://www.answers.com/topic/bell-science-the-unchained-goddess-tv-episode?cat=entertainment

    A copacetic blend of entertainment and education, The Unchained Goddess became standard fare on the high-school classroom circuit after its original 1958 telecast, and is still available on home video.

  81. Ah, so that is how so many of the just-a-bit-older-than-me crowd got this nonsense stuck in their heads? This was the precurser to “Population Bomb” and “Futureshock”.

    Gotcha.

    Ron, see request above.

  82. Guy,

    Don’t forget “Silent Spring”

    It is important to continually repeat the names of your favorite boogeymen, or invoking them loses power.

    [sighs]

  83. I’m surprised Guy didn’t see that film at his school.

    You know, the one where they filmed Gigli.

  84. Regarding those Capra Science films:

    They were fairly well received by scientists as a quality attempt…despite Capra’s inclusion of many religious references (he was catholic)…and have been cited by prominent scientists as the thing that got the started on the road to their career.

    I would note that this was not something I saw in high school, but, rather in 4th and 5th grade. Which seems more the level they present the information at…

    Not sure who would be showing it in HS science classes…I would worry about a school with that thin a HS science curriculum…but then Guy’s classes didn’t even seem to give him this basic a level of understanding, so…there ya go.

  85. Don’t forget “Silent Spring”

    You might think that is about global warming, but I know better.

  86. ROFLMAO!!!!

    Yea, NM, everybody here who disagrees with you is due to ignorance, to include me an Ron! Excellent, most excellent.

  87. Guy,

    How is “Futureshock” about global warming in even the most tangential way?

    And to make “Population Bomb” about global warming requires some pretty creative interpretation.

  88. Guy,

    Don’t conflate my questioning of your knowledge of science (gleaned from reading many of your posts) with an accusation that disagreeing with me equals being uninformed.

    The jab was targeted, not general.

  89. Guy,

    Feel free to demonstrate that I am wrong about your level of knowledge.

    Provide a science-based critique of the AGW hypothesis.

  90. LOL, how about another dozen posts to show your big brain to everybody?

  91. I am sorry Guy,

    I didn’t realize the point of this was to improve my place in the on-line pecking order of Biggus Brainius..

    It ain’t really a competition is it?

  92. Cuz’ if’n it’s a competition, I am very competitive…

    What’s the prize?

  93. That was only 2

  94. Guy’s posts on this thread = 16

    Me, including this one = 19

    I can see how he thinks I am showing off, what with my 3 post lead.

  95. I just find it amazing how much stuff people can read into one particularly hot or cool month.

    For any given location and any given calendar month, the temperature can vary by many degrees from one year to the next. Global warming is supposed to be raising temperatures by a tiny fraction of a degree per year. This being the case, it’s downright silly to claim that a hot month – or even a hot year – proves anything about global warming.

    In the past, there have been plenty of times when our planet was much hotter than it is now. That leads me to believe that fears of global warming are drastically overblown. Sure, we should keep an eye on the issue, but it doesn’t make much sense to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to slow down the warming so that we reach some particular temperature in the year 2105 instead of 2100.

  96. but it doesn’t make much sense to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to slow down the warming so that we reach some particular temperature in the year 2105 instead of 2100.

    I believe the point is to avoid reaching certain critical temperatures altogether. Not that Natural Global variation might not lead to those critical temperatures occurring as they have in the past…the point is to avoid doing things that cause the system to reach temperatures that we know are bad, based on how they impacted life in the past (e.g., mass extinctions).

  97. I thought global warming only created more fetus-shaped hurricanes

  98. Did they tell how to distinguish anthropogenic warming enhanced warmed up hurricanes from natural cycle warmed up hurricanes? ‘Cause that’s really what I want to know.

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