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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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RE: Close enough for gov'mint work
By omnicronx on 1/20/2009 3:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
Switzerland, with one of the lowest murder rates in the world, doesn't just allow citizens to own guns, it REQUIRES every male adult to own a fully-automatic machine gun.
Funny you mention Switzerland, as they are second to guess who in terms of gun deaths per 100k people. I guess this is just coincidence that the only two first world nations that make it a right/law to own a gun, have highest gun murder rates?

RE: Close enough for gov'mint work
By tookablighty on 1/20/2009 4:23:34 PM , Rating: 2
You just don't get it mate. If a nation bans wooden-handled steak knives, they'll have the lowest rates for murders with wooden-handled steak knives. But will TOTAL murders go down? No. People will just use something else.

The nations with the highest murder rates all ban guns. You can't deny that statistic by saying "well most are third world nations". So what?

Your statistic on "gun violence" is also a lie, because it includes suicides, and there are more gun suicides than murders. Most of the rest are drug-related murders. Take out those, and the US has crime rates similar to Europe. Thank your war on drugs for that, not your gun laws.

Are those gun murders that high anyway? More people die from accidental falls than do from guns, and five times as many die in auto accidents:

More children die in swimming pools than tfrom gun crime. Let's ban swimming pools too heh?

RE: Close enough for gov'mint work
By omnicronx on 1/20/2009 5:00:59 PM , Rating: 3
You just don't get it mate. If a nation bans wooden-handled steak knives, they'll have the lowest rates for murders with wooden-handled steak knives. But will TOTAL murders go down?
I beg to differ, of first world nations that have gun control, the USA still has a higher murder rate per 1000 people than any other country (with a rate of 0.042802 per 1,000 people). The next closest is Finland at 0.0283362 per 1,000 people. England which completely bans the use of firearms for civilians has a mere rate of 0.0140633 per 1,000 people or approximately 1/4 of that of the USA.

As for your little suicide speil, 56% of gun related deaths in the US are murders, not suicides.

Are those gun murders that high anyway? More people die from accidental falls than do from guns, and five times as many die in auto accidents:

I'm not too sure where you were reading your stats from.. (from the site you linked)Even if you remove suicides from the equation, gun related murder is almost exactly the same as falling, and about 6 times more than all drownings (not just children). Vehicular accidents surely include drunk driving, which one would imagine would account for a large majority of those deaths.

Finally the difference between all of accidental deaths and gun murder, is they are just that, accidental. Nobody made the choice that they would go drown in a pool, or die by falling. Gun crimes are preventable.

By thepalinator on 1/20/2009 7:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
Gun crimes are preventable
They're preventable by deterring criminals, not by banning guns. In my state (FL) when gun laws were relaxed and people allowed to defend their property with gun, violent crime went down, not up. That's a statistic you can't argue with.

You want an even better comparison, try Vancouver, Canada with its sister city right across the border, Seattle. You can't find two cities more alike. Canada has much stronger gun laws and so yes, Vancouver has fewer gun crimes. But it actually has more violent crime than Seattle, and the highest break in rate in all North America.

A new report has given Vancouver a dubious honour: the highest break-in rate of all major Canadian and American cities, nearly four times that of New York City.

Last year, Vancouver recorded more than 1,100 break-ins per 100,000 residents while New York City had just over 300.

The numbers are contained in the annual report by the B.C. Progress Board, which showed Vancouver had the second-highest combined violent and property crime rate among all major cities in Canada and the United States

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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