Thursday, May 24, 2007

Substituting Dogma For Science Is A Really Bad Idea: Example #447

From Reuters (via CNN): Study: Killer hurricanes thrived in cooler seas

Hurricanes over the past 5,000 years appear to have been controlled more by El Nino and an African monsoon than warm sea surface temperatures, such as those caused by global warming, researchers said Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Nature, adds to the debate on whether seas warmed by greenhouse gas emissions lead to more hurricanes, such as those that bashed the Gulf of Mexico in 2005.

Some researchers say warmer seas appear to have contributed to more intense hurricanes, while others disagree. The U.N. International Panel on Climate Change said this year it was more likely than not that humans contribute to a trend of increasingly intense hurricanes.[emphasis added]

This simply underscores how the claims of the IPCC on hurricanes were in no way based upon the actual state of the scientific evidence. To claim the IPCC report represent the "consensus" of scientific opinion is so far from the truth it isn't even worthy of dicsussion.

The sad fact is the politicians of the IPCC needed to make these sorts of false hurricane claims to bolster their political contentions that the world was in mortal danger. It was a scare tactic, and a knowingly cynical one at that.

Frequent strong hurricanes thrived in the Western Atlantic during times of weak El Ninos, or warming of surface waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and strong West African monsoons even when local seas were cooler than now, the study said.

"Tropical sea surface temperatures as warm as at present are apparently not a requisite condition for increased intense hurricane activity," Jeffrey Donnelly, the lead author and researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said in the study.

Intense hurricanes made landfall during the latter half of the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling that occurred approximately from the 14th to mid-19th centuries, he said.


Intense hurricanes hit when local sea surface temperatures were warm or cool. In fact, "the Caribbean experienced a relatively active interval of intense hurricanes for more than a millennium when local sea surface temperatures were on average cooler than modern," the study said.

I'm not particularly surprised at these findings. Look at the picture of a cyclonic storm below:

This is a picture of what is known as a "polar low." This photograph is of a storm just off of the coast of Iceland. Polar lows don't just look like tropical hurricanes, they have been known to reach hurricane force winds as well. These storms take place in the coldest waters on earth, so it has always seemed obvious that the warmth of the waters couldn't have been the determining factor on the development of cyclonic storms generally speaking.

So the IPCC is not selling science when they speak of hurricanes, they are selling a morality tale. "See the big bad people make the water warmer by their greed. See the warm water create hurricanes. See the hurricanes destroy the big bad greedy people."

One might think that some media members might catch on to this overwhelmingly simplistic reasoning about such a massively complex scientific problem as hurricane genesis.

Unfortunately, the media loves a good morality tale more than they love science.

Cross Posted at The Iconic Midwest

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