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Another milder-than-normal season takes shape

During the active 2005 hurricane season, the usual doom-and-gloom prophets blamed the storms on global warming. "Nature's wrath," we were told, "hath been unleashed". Aided by a complaisant media, we were told this was our wakeup call, come to punish us for our SUV-driving ways.

Then disaster struck.  The 2006 season not only didn't live up to predictions, it wound up being one of the quietest seasons of the past century. No matter. We were told to ignore this year-long blip, told that 2007 would come roaring back with a vengeance.

And yet, here we are, two full months into the season, and not a single hurricane has formed. Not one. Just two mild tropical storms, one of which didn't even strike land, and a third storm which never went above subtropical status. Hurricane forecasters are busily downgrading their predictions for the rest of the season.

And so it goes. The sky isn't falling yet. But what about the future? Will global warming wreck all our beach-going vacations?

There are two schools of thought regarding the effects of climate change on hurricane science. The first begins with the fact that hurricanes require warm water to form. Global warming means warmer water, leading to the naive conclusion is that more hurricanes will form. The second school realizes that hurricanes are heat engines -- driven not by raw temperature, but by temperature differentials between regions. Global warming warms the arctic and temperate belts, but not the tropics. This reduces the total energy available for major storm formation. It also increases upper-level wind shear, which tends to tear apart storms before they grow too strong. This school believes the long term effects of global warming will be fewer, milder storms.

Climate change aside, hurricanes come and go in cycles. Professor William Gray, one of the nation's most respected hurricane forecasters, believes storm activity will remain high for the next several years, due simply to a long-term cycle of changing Atlantic currents. A team of researchers led by Dr. Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center goes further. In a paper published last year, they claim storm rates have not risen over the past 100 years, but only that improved monitoring technology results in registering storms which would have previously been missed. And professors Vecchi and Soden's research on wind shear suggests no long-term storm activity increase should be expected.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not selling my ocean-front condo just yet.


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Tell the actuaries!
By Ringold on 7/31/2007 2:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
To my fellow Floridians who feel my pain, and previously accepted it as a fair actuarial rate for risk but now question how high the risk really is... 'nuff said

(Not that I want Crist and Tallahassee's wet dream of socialized home insurance, either. Just want to see insurance firms do the right thing and lower rates if this year goes by quietly)




RE: Tell the actuaries!
By Moishe on 8/1/2007 8:39:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just want to see insurance firms do the right thing and lower rates

HAHAHAHAhahaha AHAHA ahAHAHAHAhAhAhAhAHAHAHA!!!!!

..... sorry couldn't resist. Guess I'm cynical!


RE: Tell the actuaries!
By Ringold on 8/2/2007 6:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, of course, it won't happen, I know.

It'll go like this: They'll hold tight on their rates. Citizens Insurance (I think that's what the state owned one is called) will get the nod from the state congress to compete on prices instead of being merely a last-resort insurer and consolidate their already powerful grip (75% of all homes east of I-95 are state insured) until home owners insurance companies are ran entirely of the state.

And the people will then rejoice for many years, having been saved from EVIL capitalists, content with their low government insurance bills. That is, until Hurricane Andrew II strikes. Then the state goes "Oh Noes! We've been raiding the insurance piggy bank for years to finance uber-teleportation systems for tourists direct to Disney!" And then the rejoicing comes to an abrupt, shocking hault as insolvency grips the state. Economists then say from their winter homes "We told you so!"


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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