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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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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. ;)

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