Superstorm Sandy and Global Warming

http://www.pbase.com/azleader/image/147634496.jpgCOP18 is an international, UN-sponsored, global climate change conference now underway in Doha, Qatar. It is the 18th-year of the “Conference of the of the Parties” (COP).

17,000 attendees are expected over it’s two week run.

At the conference, Superstorm Sandy is being waved around like a red flag. It is a rallying cry to action to save the Earth from an ever increasing number of more intense weather events.

Fortunately for us, despite Sandy, the UN is wrong and we in the United States are not experiencing more intense storms due to human-induced global warming.

http://www.pbase.com/azleader/image/147634333.jpg

The above graph from NOAA shows, by year, the total energy release of all hurricanes and extratropical cyclones, like Sandy. It is a direct measure of storm intensity by year over time.

From it we learn three important facts:

  1. Overall storm intensity has remained relatively constant over time since 1900
  2. 2011-2012 have had the LEAST intense storm seasons since 1900!
  3. 2005 was a bad year for hurricanes

Assuming that the UN is right; since human CO2 emissions have increased logarithmically with time since 1900, storm intensity should have also increase logarithmically. Obviously, it hasn’t! There has been no general increase at all.

2005 was a bad year. No doubt about it. It is the basis year for the UN’s claim of more intense hurricanes. Among numerous other intense storms, 2005 is when Katrina struck.

Since 2005, storm intensity has decreased dramatically… not increased as would be expected if the UN is right.

Reasons Behind Sandy Disaster

But what about Sandy???

Sandy barely had hurricane cat 1 winds when it made landfall. It was not a significant hurricane.  It was destructive because of a combination of four unique coincidences:

  • It combined with a Nor’easter at landfall
  • It made landfall at high tide
  • It made landfall within a day of full moon which intensifies high tides
  • It made landfall in southern New Jersey which maximized the storm surge to the populous north of it on the Jersey shore and NYC

If not for that, Sandy would have already been mostly forgotten by now and thought of only as a bigger than normal Nor’easter.

Conclusions

There are enough problems on planet Earth that we need to fix. We need not manufacture spectacular new doomsday scenarios, like more intense hurricanes due to human-caused climate change.

As shown above, hurricanes are not more intense than they have ever been. Few people know that New York City was previously wiped out by hurricanes back in 1821, 1893 and 1938. They were mostly rediscovered through archeological digs!

New York City has periodically suffered tragic devastation due to hurricanes. Nothing has changed. New York is a disaster waiting to happen at any time. Sandy is just another chapter in that long sad saga.

It has nothing to do with climate change. It has everything to do with the folly of human endeavor.

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Posted on Dec 1, 2012, in Climate, climate change, culture, economics, Global Warming, Life, news, Opinion, Politics, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Dan Pangburn

    Paraphrasing Richard Feynman: Regardless of how many experts
    believe it or how many organizations concur, if it doesn’t agree with
    observation, it’s wrong.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), some
    politicians and many others stubbornly continue to proclaim that increased
    atmospheric carbon dioxide was the primary cause of global warming.

    Measurements demonstrate that they are wrong.

    The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now increased since
    2001 by 23.2 ppmv (an amount equal to 25.9% of the increase that took place
    from 1800 to 2001) (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; October, 2012, 394.32
    ppmv).

    The average global temperature trend since 2001 is flat.

    That is the observation. No amount of spin can rationalize that the temperature increase to 2001 was caused by a CO2 increase of 89.5 ppmv but that 23.2 ppmv additional CO2 increase had no effect on the average global temperature trend after 2001.

    It might not be realized by some, but average global
    temperature actually has little to do with meteorology so the wrong experts
    have been trying to figure it out. The so-called Global Climate Models (aka
    General Circulation Models) are actually weather models and they do a pretty
    good job of predicting weather for a few days. Their predicting ability declines
    into computational noise within days. It is profoundly naive to perceive that a
    weather model can be turned into a climate model by running it longer.

    • You are right. The link between human-produced CO2 emissions and global warming is tenuous at best. There is a real mechanism, but it is exaggerated beyond reason.

      The evidence is convincing that alarmist claims are unjustified, but the human fear factor has taken over the minds of many. For them, facts just get in the way.

      Eventually, obvious physical data will become so overwhelming that catastrophism will fade away. Today’s alarmists seem to be assuming the characteristics of end-of-the-world zealots.

      Climate science is in its infancy. It has a long way to go, but it will get better.

      Weather prediction, on the other hand, has made remarkable progress in the last few decades. I marvel how forecasters could predict, many days in advance, Sandy’s sharp left-hand turn into the nor’easter with remarkable accuracy.

      Another related infant science is also making remarkable discoveries… space weather. Discoveries in solar physics are starting to clarify long-term climate change.

      Those discoveries, however, are dismissed by the IPCC in a simple-minded analysis. That will changed over the next decade, and will profoundly alter climate prediction models.

  2. Nice post. The press continually attempts to point to specific events, such as a strong hurricane, a flood or drought as concrete evidence of global warming (caused by humans) in spite of the fact that such events have occurred throughout our planet’s existence and will continue to do so and in and of themselves are no proof of global warming. Any weather event that the press feels is extreme is immediately tied to a warming climate. It is simply ridiculous.

    • Thanks for your kind words.

      In this article I’ve only highlighted a graph that WUWT has talked about numerous times. If it is described in enough different ways then, perhaps, the myth of more intense hurricanes cause by human CO2 emissions can finally be put to rest.

  3. Statistically speaking, 1900 to 1955 witnessed more energy release looking at your chart. The mean is higher with fairly uniform variance. Post 1955 the mean has come down, but variance has picked up because of 2005.

    Here in Wisconsin we are living in fairly toasty times with lots of records highs, but many of the formers were in the 1880s and 1930s and many still stand which makes you think of it as some kind of 50 year thing. In terms of snowfall we had crazy periods 2007-2010 and 1977-1979 and back in the 50s and 30s according to parents, which seems like a snow spiking every twenty years around here.

    The dynamic of the atmosphere contains so many differential equations which cannot be analytically solved to a reduced form, so they use numeric estimation techniques, which leaves much room for interpretation.

    What do you make of the latest article in the Wall Street Journal showing glacier melt at the poles?

    • Regarding glacial melt… the news reports seem very compelling to me…

      However, the new paper is being questioned on the grounds that the satellite measurements on which it is based have not been properly benchmarked.

      NASA acknowledges this is a problem and has a new satellite on the drawing board called GRASP to set a proper benchmark from which all satellite studies can be calibrated. Then the true state of ice melt can be accurately accessed.

      It isn’t a question that there has been melting. There has. What is being question is the amount. Some think the estimate is doubled because of the benchmarking problem.

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