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A not so strong wind

26 Jan 2022 | News Roundup

Obviously it’s a bit of a cheat when a newspaper explains snow in the Sahara by invoking warming, renamed “climate change” so it can mean anything or nothing. But the idea is that the weather is getting weirder and worse, and it must be our fault because otherwise it wouldn’t be. Which brings us to hurricanes… though not them to us. Back in late November NBC allowed that “There was a collective sigh of relief Tuesday as the Atlantic hurricane season officially came to an end.” The reason they gave was that “This year was the sixth straight with an above-average hurricane season” so thank heavens that’s over, as the man said as he staggered off the golf course after playing worse than usual as always. But in point of fact, says Bjorn Lomborg, “Hurricanes in 2021 were unprecedented — as in unprecedentedly few/ Globally, 2021 had the fewest hurricanes ever in the satellite era (1980-2021)/ Did you see that reported anywhere?” To borrow G.K. Chesterton’s line about the Frenchman asked if he’d had lunch on the boat, “Au contraire.”

So where did NBC get its long run of above-average years? Mostly by mistaking the North Atlantic for the entire globe, something else that might benefit from a fact check. And their trend is so awesome it looks like a blip: “Since 2010, there have been an average of three major storms per Atlantic hurricane season. In the last five years there’s been an average of four.” We are all going to die. By drowning, possibly, since “The destructive flooding from heavy rain was also linked to climate change. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water, which means record rain is expected to become more frequent and more intense in the future.” Though if it doesn’t, they’ll tell us drought was a predictable consequence of climate change.

The piece also said “The 2021 season is estimated to be the fourth-costliest Atlantic hurricane season, with economic losses expected to exceed $70 billion, said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.” But do we really need to remind them that rising population and wealth means whatever storms come along hit more stuff that’s worth money?

Actually Paul Homewood does remind us that people tend to focus on Atlantic hurricanes. But at least in the Western Pacific, total storms are down, though strong storms after troughing around 1980 seem to have surged back to 1950 levels, clear proof of nothing at all. Just like snow in the Sahara.

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