"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Glassman: Exploiting Disasters for Political Gain Is "Disgusting"

In today's edition of TechCentralStation (a site for which this author writes regularly), James Glassman, who lived in New Orleans for several years and has strong ties to the community (including family members living there), writes about the efforts of some writers and public advocates to tie Hurricane Katrina to their political agenda:

[T]he response of environmental extremists fills me with what only can be called disgust. They have decided to exploit the death and devastation to win support for the failed Kyoto Protocol, which requires massive cutbacks in energy use to reduce, by a few tenths of a degree, surface warming projected 100 years from now.

Katrina has nothing to do with global warming. Nothing. It has everything to do with the immense forces of nature that have been unleashed many, many times before and the inability of humans, even the most brilliant engineers, to tame these forces.

After recounting some of the activists' statements, which have received much attention in the news, Glassman addresses their claims directly:

The Kyoto advocates point to warmer ocean temperatures, but they ought to read their own favorite newspaper, The New York Times, which reported yesterday:

"Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming. But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught 'is very much natural,' said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.'"

Finally, Glassman points out that the very premise that tropical storms are increasing in intensity is entirely unsupported:

[T]here is no evidence that hurricanes are intensifying anyway. For the North Atlantic as a whole, according to the United Nations Environment Programme of the World Meteorological Organization: "Reliable data…since the 1940s indicate that the peak strength of the strongest hurricanes has not changed, and the mean maximum intensity of all hurricanes has decreased."

Yes, decreased.

Not only has the intensity of hurricanes fallen, but, as George H. Taylor, the state climatologist of Oregon has pointed out, so has the frequency of hailstorms in the U.S. (see Changnon and Changnon) and cyclones throughout the world (Gulev, et al.).

Glassman makes a powerful case. Read it here.

3 comments:

Tlaloc said...

"Katrina has nothing to do with global warming. Nothing."

He's wrong to make that claim because he has no way of knowing. Just as wrong as those claiming Global warming is definitely linked to Katrina. Neither side can say with any certainty if a specific instance of weather is or is not connected to global warming. What they can do is show a trend corresponding to increases in global warming.



"[T]here is no evidence that hurricanes are intensifying anyway. For the North Atlantic as a whole, according to the United Nations Environment Programme of the World Meteorological Organization: "Reliable data…since the 1940s indicate that the peak strength of the strongest hurricanes has not changed, and the mean maximum intensity of all hurricanes has decreased."

Yes, decreased."

I explained this to you Karnick, did it not sink in? When dealing with an effect with a periodictity it's quite possible for you to see a period of decrease despite an overall increase in the mean point.

In other words the point he makes here is entirely moot, it says nothing of substance except that the author is ignorant of the basics of periodic functions.

Tlaloc said...

I would like to point out that I do actually like Techcentralstation. As opposed to National Review which is simply factually challenged, or Powerline which really wants to be Ann Coulter but isn't, TCS often has reasonably written and thought out articles.

Of course they do have stinkers as well but over all the quality of the articles is pretty fair.

James Elliott said...

Looking at the number of hurricanes is just one statistic, and perhaps not the correct one. The number of named tropical storms is increasing. The 12th just formed in the Atlantic. On average, only four form by late August.