Sunday, November 4, 2012

No, Global Warming Didn't Cause Sandy

A truly excellent essay by Eric Berger on how current science does not support the now recently revived theme that global warming, er, global climate change is not causing hurricanes and other severe weather to be more common: There will probably be fewer Sandy-like storms in the future
It only took a hurricane striking new New York City, but climate change is finally an issue in the presidential campaign. On Thursday, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg cited climate change as a primary reason why he endorsed President Obama...
but enough of the politics...
I have already posted about an influential paper in Nature Geoscience, published in 2010, that surveyed all of the recent climate science and hurricane literature. In summary, after studying past and present hurricane data the scientists did not conclusively find any detectable human influence on hurricane activity.

Since that paper there has been more research done. One important paper was published in Science — that would be America’s most influential science journal — which modeled a warming climate’s impact on the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes (see abstract).

This is state-of-the-art science using the best-resolution climate models. If you’re a proponent of anthropogenic global warming then, by definition, you pretty much have to have some measure of faith in these models. The following projection, using the “business as usual” A1B climate scenario, predicts the change in hurricane frequency by wind speed between the current climate and what’s expected between 2081 and 2100.
So, the models predict much fewer hurricanes with winds in the 30-50 mph range, and only slightly more in the 65 mph range; well within the noise range?  That's what all the excitement is about?  Seems like we should be cranking out as much CO2 as possible to moderate the climate, and tame the hurricanes...

Yes, sea level rise will make the effects of hurricanes worse.
But of course, sea level was already rising before man started adding CO2 to the atmosphere, and the rate of sea level rise has not significantly increased during the period of rising CO2.
But telling people that Sandy was caused by climate change, or that Sandy is the “new normal” as a result of global warming, or that Sandy is “global warming, stupid,” is, well, stupid. The science does not support any of these positions. Science, in fact, indicates there will be considerably fewer Sandy-like storms in a warmer world. If saying this makes me a “scold” in the words of David Roberts, so be it.

False promises to the contrary will not help climate advocates make their case, it will only undermine their message when there’s a lull in major hurricanes hitting the United States.

It is true that Sandy was a human-caused disaster. We build cities on the coast. We don’t adequately protect them. We don’t heed evacuation warnings. That is where the blame lies for this one, not climate change.
 Found at Watts Up with That.

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