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Cold periods had fewer storms, natural ocean cycles the largest cause of hurricane variability.

I've always been skeptical of the view that global warming leads to stronger hurricanes. The argument behind it seems overly simplistic -- hurricanes feed off warm water, so warmer sea surface temperatures will lead to more frequent and powerful storms.

Elsewhere in our solar system, the exact opposite seems true. Blisteringly hot Venus, for instance, seems to have extremely weak storm activity, whereas icy Jupiter has massive hurricanes that last centuries, large enough to swallow the entire earth several times over. This is only suggestive rather than conclusive, but clearly there's more to storm activity than just raw temperature.

Basic thermodynamics helps to explain why. Storms are essentially large heat engines. It's not temperature that drives a heat engine, but differences in temperature. Global warming, which warms the poles more than the equator, would seem to decrease the latitude-based differential that helps drive a hurricane's rotational energy.

So went my pet theory, at least— but no hard data supported it.

However, the other side had no hard data either. While climate modelers claimed global warming might strengthen storms, actual hurricanologists were adamant that no actual evidence existed. Some pointed to research on wind shear, which suggested that a warmer climate would reduce the conditions that allow hurricanes to form, despite warmer surface water.

In 2005, one hurricanologist, Emmanuel Kerry, broke ranks and claimed to have actual proof that global warming increased hurricanes. For this, Time Magazine quickly named him "Man of the Year". However, last year Kerry publicly recanted his view, admitting that his earlier work was flawed.

With Kerry's renunciation, hurricane scientists were unanimous in their view that global warming wouldn't lead to measurably stronger storms.

But could it do the reverse? Could global warming actually reduce hurricane activity? A pair of Chinese researchers now says this very well may be true, at least for some parts of the earth.

The researchers, using a new branch of science they call "paleotempestology", looked backwards through several thousand years of the earth's history. Using sedimentary deposits, core samples from caves, and other geological proxies, along with documented historical records of hurricane landfalls, they built the longest record of hurricane activity ever constructed. They then correlated it to the varying temperature at each period..

On the global level, the researchers found no link between climate and hurricane activity. Surprisingly, though, cold periods such as the Little Ice Age had the most hurricanes, at least in some regions, a result the team said "begs adequate explanation".

However, the study found a strong link between natural patterns such as El Nino and hurricanes, a clear pattern of rising and falling activity on decadal time scales. These oscillations, known as "ENSO", tended to suppress and enhance hurricanes on a regular cycle, with the cooler "la Nina" years having the most activity.

The research was published in the Chinese Science Bulletin, and can be viewed here.

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Be right back
By FITCamaro on 1/14/2009 12:08:16 PM , Rating: 3
*Runs outside to start his V8 and let it idle all day long*

Just doing my part to prevent strong hurricanes. ;)

RE: Be right back
By clovell on 1/14/2009 3:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hahah - I'll just leave my xbox 360 on all day - probably won't have a much different effect

RE: Be right back
By Torched on 1/14/2009 9:45:06 PM , Rating: 5
While you do that you also need to do more Google searches! And leave all the lights on in the house(incandescent for good measure) then have a barbecue on a massive bonfire of CFC containing aerosol cans and needlessly cut down trees. Then with your newly cut & cleared acreage You could put like twenty cows and feed them tons of fiber. Oh and don't forget the recently deceased horse who got a beating.

RE: Be right back
By wordsworm on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Be right back
By theendofallsongs on 1/15/2009 10:58:29 AM , Rating: 4
You could do an experiment to by putting your head in a plastic bag and seeing what your breath does to the air. Think it'll kill you? Maybe you should stop breathing then?

I grew up in LA. The air is ten times cleaner now than it was in the 80s. My dad says it was even worse in the 60s. What does that tell you?

RE: Be right back
By wordsworm on 1/15/2009 11:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
I grew up in LA. The air is ten times cleaner now than it was in the 80s. My dad says it was even worse in the 60s. What does that tell you?

That tells me that those damned fascist liberals probably forced auto manufacturers to produce cleaner cars. We should have the right to drive whatever we want, no matter how badly it damages the environment. Stupid liberals. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if some econofreaks also have a part to do with - probably demanding that the city put in expensive trees to suck up all that smog. Who cares about smog, I mean really? Paying taxes for trees? Pave it all under already! Stupid liberals. Then there's that whole garbage about pushing for fuel efficiency. From an average of 10mpg to 20mpg is terrible. Let's go back to the good old days of lead gasoline consuming V8s. Stupid liberals.

What's worse, is they're still doing it! They're still pushing for greener tech! And those Green peacers, protesting every time some polluting factory starts up or doesn't clean up after itself. They should be put in jail for that! At least in China they jail liberals and they don't bother the public with Green Peace or environmentalists. They put them in jail where they belong! I only wish that western nations would put all the liberals in jail so that we could have just the one conservative party in charge. Then we could all go back to polluting and using as much gas as we can! Stupid liberals.

RE: Be right back
By sigilscience on 1/16/2009 12:00:05 AM , Rating: 3
Let's go back to the good old days of lead gasoline consuming V8s.
Funny you mention that, since they said in the 70s that leaded gas was going to kill us all. Lots of countries never banned it and 30 years later, they don't seem to be having any problems.

Just another in a long list of scare tactics that were nothing but lies. Acid rain (all our forests will will be gone in 30 years!) or pesticide use (all the birds will be gone in 30 years!) or a dozen others I could name.

Now, its "global warming is going to kill us all". At least they put the deadline more than 30 years away. Guess they learned their lesson.

What's worse, is they're still doing it! They're still pushing for greener tech!
If they were really doing that, they wouldn't be keeping all our coal plants open by blocking nuclear power.

RE: Be right back
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 10:14:40 AM , Rating: 2
Since I wasn't alive in the 70s, what was their reasoning for getting rid of leaded gas?

RE: Be right back
By bridgeman on 1/16/2009 2:27:38 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, just a minor problem of lead poisoning. It's the same problem as lead paint and lead plumbing. I recall reading somewhere that lead levels in the soil by old highways are still elevated.

Children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. Also, kids have a way of playing by the side of the road and eating things they shouldn't. It's a particular problem for a kid with pica, a disorder in which the kid will habitually eat grass, dirt, or other non-edible things.

RE: Be right back
By sigilscience on 1/16/2009 2:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's a VERY minor problem. IIRC, those "elevated" lead levels are still lower than the natural lead levels found in dirt at thousands of places around the country.

As you say, it might be a problem if you allow your child to spend years playing on the highway and eating large amounts of the dirt he finds there. But for everyone else it was basically a scare tactic.

RE: Be right back
By bridgeman on 1/16/2009 3:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't be surprised at the local variance of lead levels. There are parts of the country where they have to defluoridate water to prevent fluorosis.

Anyway, I've just now recalled a very good reason for unleading gasoline. Lead causes catalytic converters to fail. The lead coats the catalyst, sealing it away and preventing it from doing its job of reducing carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions.

RE: Be right back
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 3:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
The lead scare of the 1970s was certainly overblown, but it had a grain of truth. Hundreds of thousands of tons of lead compounds put directly into the air could certainly be a problem. Epidemiological studies showed mixed results, but the risk, if it existed, was certainly small.

I have no problem with the ban as such. A scare without a grain of truth, however, is the EU's current ban on lead in solder. The quantities here are thousands of times smaller-- and the lead doesn't go directly into the air we breath either. The ban is a craven bow to anti-industrial environmental interests, plain and simple. Worse, since substitutes make electronics less reliable, the actual environmental impact from this ban is certainly negative, as tens of thousands of consumer electronic items wind up in landfills early.

Incidently, when leaded gasoline was first introduced in the 1920s, the newspapers were filled with stories claiming the fumes would kill people outright, or send them into epileptic fits. It took a Congressional investigation before this hysteria quieted of many hundreds of such to spring up in the past.

Also in the 1920s, President Coolidge had to convene an emergency panel, to address the problem of "dwindling oil supplies", as many experts were predicting the world would be entirely out of oil within 10 years.

Truth, sirs, is stranger than fiction.

RE: Be right back
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2009 4:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah banning lead in electronics is just stupid. Unless you're going to let your kids eat or suck on their electronic toys, I don't see how they could possibly get lead poisoning from the lead in the solder.

RE: Be right back
By bfonnes on 1/19/2009 11:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
What are your views of increased levels of mercury in fish? PCBs in drinking water? Radioactive waste leaking out of their containers? Federal Super Fund sites? Polluting of natural aquifers? ad infitum, ad nasuem?

RE: Be right back
By onelittleindian on 1/20/2009 10:36:59 AM , Rating: 1
"mercury in fish" = "big scare for nothing".
"PCBS in drinking water" = "haven't killed anyone yet"
"Radioactive waste leaking out of their containers?" = "fix the container"

Most of this is just environazi stupidity. By itself, the ban on DDT killed millions of people. When you compare how much that hurt people to an extra 0.0001% chance of getting cancer, it really puts it all in comparison.

RE: Be right back
By mmatis on 1/19/2009 11:01:23 AM , Rating: 2
Or if you're sitting in a bar sucking up all the malt liquor you can get from your welfare check while your kids sit at home chewing the paint on the windowsills because you don't have any $$$ left to buy stuff for them...

RE: Be right back
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 9:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
There's nothing wrong with pollution controls. What is wrong is saying that CO2 is a pollutant when its not. That's what liberals today are fighting for. Not cleaning up smog.

RE: Be right back
By recife on 1/17/2009 4:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
try breathing in pure CO2 and see how long you live.

RE: Be right back
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2009 4:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'll die if I breathe in a lot of things. That doesn't make them pollutants. Surrounded by idiots I swear.

You can die from breathing in too much oxygen too dumbass.

RE: Be right back
By Zshazz on 1/22/2009 2:25:35 AM , Rating: 2

Course, he could always prove us wrong by deeply inhaling a bunch of O2 for a couple of hours... that'd be entertaining to see on youtube, actually.

RE: Be right back
By kyleb2112 on 1/17/2009 8:55:09 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, I had a lot of sympathy for liberals when they were fighting for clean air, oceans, endangered species etc. But all that stuff went away when they found a more convenient vehicle to push their political agenda. It's all GW all the time now.

RE: Be right back
By wordsworm on 1/15/2009 11:55:27 PM , Rating: 2
You could do an experiment to by putting your head in a plastic bag and seeing what your breath does to the air. Think it'll kill you? Maybe you should stop breathing then?

Hey, I just thought of a fun game you and I could play. You go in a garage with an SUV or V8 running, and I'll go in a garage with a Prius. Last one standing wins. We could also try the plastic bag scenario with you sucking on the one with the tailpipe. OK, before you go out and actually do it, you should know that exhaust is toxic: the Prius, even though it's on, wouldn't necessarily be burning gas while the V8 sure would and you'd be dead. Why am I telling you this? I'm telling you because I'm afraid that you might just go ahead and do something like that and I don't want to be held criminally responsible. Lord knows that the American tort system favors the accidental idiot.

RE: Be right back
By sigilscience on 1/16/2009 12:48:06 AM , Rating: 2
Lets try this game instead. You and I go live in a city with a million cars all running their engines. Lets see if that exhaust kills us, no matter how many of them are SUVs?

Oh wait, I've already been playing that game for 30 years. Looks like I'm winning.

RE: Be right back
By bfonnes on 1/19/2009 11:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
Environmentalists, to my knowledge, are not telling people not to drive their cars ever. If some of them feel personal responsibilty and decide to ride bikes and like to be healthy, then more power to them. Why do we have to have this debate in terms of life or death situations? Breathing is involuntary... You don't decide every time you take a breath whether or not you want to do it because the air is bad... So, your argument is a bit fallacious.

RE: Be right back
By onelittleindian on 1/20/2009 10:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
If some of them feel personal responsibilty and decide to ride bikes and like to be healthy, then more power to them
But thats not all they're doing. They're also trying to pass laws to make SUVs more expensive, gas more expensive, attacking SUVs in parking lots and dealer lots, and even trying to get them banned outright in some places.

Riding a bike isn't "showing responsibility". It's either a) exercise, or b) an excuse for a backwards hippie to feel smug and superior.

RE: Be right back
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 9:14:25 AM , Rating: 1
I have a game. You put a shotgun in your mouth and pull the trigger. End game.

RE: Be right back
By just4U on 1/18/2009 12:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh.. how about you guys stop playing that silly game? How can you even hope to be taken seriously (post wise) when your being stupid and posting this crap.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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