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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: All it takes is one storm
By Ringold on 7/31/2007 8:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
and well we pretty much laugh at them.

A direct hit = a few days off work / school / life. Break out the BBQ and beer.

Hell the fast food places dont close for anything unless its a strong 3 or higher

Hurricane Charley was just starting to pound the bejesus out of us in Kissimmee and we heard over the radio about a pizza delivery joint in Saint Cloud (minutes away) was making continuous deliveries come hell or high water -- and was making out like gangsters.

an old decaying tree being uprooted and slaming into something

They explicitly warn us about those, too, almost all year long. And then when a thunderstorm comes by and a rotten tree blows over and smashes a trailer, oh, the tragedy.

Of course, roof damage is annoying, but hey, live up North and it's freezing rain and snow drifts. *shrug* At least this is fast-paced, exciting, and almost entirely an object of the past within a week.(Though Charlie made Orlando something of a post-apocalyptic scene for a month or so, but a change of scenery was nice)

To respond to the OP though, one massive, continent-sized, trailer-trashing tropical GeForceFX of Death would still be just a single storm. It'd be pretty darn hard for the season, this late on, to suddenly become a total breeding ground and get all the way through the alphabet and back to Epsilon or so the way it did a few years back.

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