Print 69 comment(s) - last by vortmax.. on Aug 3 at 11:08 AM

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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RE: Some things never change
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 5:39:34 PM , Rating: 5
In defense of Masher, there are still real questions about hurricane and cloud formation and their link to climate change. I totally disagree with his method of using these uncertainties to passively discredit the bulk of the research, which clearly points to a link between human activity and global climate change. I say, even with those uncertainties, do you really want to take the risk of business as usual (i.e. not reducing greenhouse gas emissions?) Especially since we've got the technology to do something about it?

It is early to summarize the 2007 hurricane season.

RE: Some things never change
By porkpie on 7/31/2007 5:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
What you mean to say is, "do you really want to spend trillions of dollars to solve a problem which might not even exist, and even if it does, will be less costly than the so-called solution?"

RE: Some things never change
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 6:50:56 PM , Rating: 1
Enjoy your cool-aid, troll.

RE: Some things never change
By Ringold on 7/31/2007 8:41:08 PM , Rating: 1
A bit of trolling, perhaps, but easier to just call him a troll than try to suggest most every plan on the table would indeed cost trillions. ;)

And of course, not to even mention these trillions in additional costs, shouldered by the developed world primarily, would come at the precise time when trillions of extra costs are incurred by an aging population that, whoops!, forgot to have enough kids! Darn women, focused on silly things like a career and all that, now they don't have anyone to pay for their retirement checks. Heheh.. another issue entirely, but two massive financial blows that would hit the world simultaneously when many European countries are dangerously in debt AND already enduring damaging tax rates as it is.

RE: Some things never change
By Yossarian22 on 7/31/2007 7:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
Hell, if global warming existed it would be a good thing. Just look at the El Nino of 98. We increased output worth over 15 billion dollars, and thats after compensating for flood damage

RE: Some things never change
By Ringold on 8/2/2007 6:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
We increased output worth over 15 billion dollars, and thats after compensating for flood damage

Just flipped through a paper today on various examples of economic shocks, and the floods from 98 were noted as being interesting in that yes, they destroyed capital equipment, but it was small enough such that their over all economic impact was a positive one. Insurance companies would, of course, disagree. ;)

RE: Some things never change
By Yossarian22 on 7/31/2007 7:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
There is no point in doing something if it costs more than it saves. Furthermore, a single year is statistically irrelevant.

RE: Some things never change
By cplusplus on 8/1/2007 4:57:49 AM , Rating: 2
There is no point in doing something if it costs more than it saves.

I think you mean that there is no financial point in doing something if it costs more than it saves. There are other reasons to do things besides money.

P.S. I actually like the fact that as a society we've gotten to the point that the main argument against cutting CO2 emmissions is that it costs too much money.

RE: Some things never change
By Yossarian22 on 8/1/2007 2:52:56 PM , Rating: 2
No, what I mean there is no point in doing anything if it damages more then it protects, which NO environmental action takes into account. The ban of DDT, for example, will probably be seen as one of the biggest tragedies in this era, considering the number of deaths from malaria rises to 50 MILLION per year from 50,000 when DDT was used. Global warming, if it was even real, would likely be benificial to the economy and environment as a whole.

RE: Some things never change
By lumbergeek on 8/1/2007 6:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody has yet to point out that humans consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. There are now over 6 Billion of us on the planet busily converting useful oxygen into useless CO2. I say we come up with some sort of plague that wipes out a pile of humanity in order to save the planet.

.... Oh wait, Big Momma Nature has been trying that - HIV, Ebola, H5N1 Influenza....


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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