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Warming isn't making hurricanes worse

30 Oct 2019 | Science Notes

Also from Pat Michaels is an op ed on the supposed link between Atlantic hurricanes and global warming. Michaels is a retired University of Virginia climatologist who now writes on climate issues for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He noticed an article in the business press about Hurricane Imelda, which was then heading towards the Texas coast. The authors added that "warming overall makes hurricanes more frequent and devastating than they would otherwise be." It's the sort of offhand remark everyone knows must be true so they don't bother citing a source. But (as we've reported before) the experts don't make this claim. The reason, as Michaels explains, is that the data don't support it.

Tropical cyclones (or hurricanes) have been monitored from space since 1970. Meteorologist Ryan Maue developed a method of combining the wind speed and the time span of the winds to estimate the global ACE Index -- Accumulated Cyclone Energy, an annual measure of the amount of energy behind the world's hurricanes each year. Maue's chart shows that the ACE grew from 1970 to the early 1990s, and since then has fluctuated around a declining trend. Furthermore the number of hurricanes has been declining for decades. The reporters were wrong, surprise surprise.

Michaels also quotes other experts at Princeton who specifically refer to the Atlantic basin and point out that they can't draw a connection between greenhouse gases, warming and hurricanes there either.

So if everybody knows warming makes hurricanes more frequent and more intense, everyone is wrong.

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