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IPCC attributes non-existent hurricane trend to GHGs

03 May 2023 | Science Notes

Over at Roger Pielke Jr’s Substack channel he has been digging into the new IPCC Synthesis Report in which they supposedly summarize all the science reported in the underlying Working Group reports of the Sixth Assessment Report, the printing of which has caused the death of many innocent trees. And the destruction of what little integrity the IPCC retained since, as Pielke Jr. so carefully documents, in the process of writing a summary of a summary of a summary they made up claims that weren’t even in the original report, let alone the underlying literature (if you want our summary, click here). In his latest post Pielke Jr. turns to the question of what the data actually show about trends in hurricanes, major hurricanes, and the proportion of hurricanes that are major. The answer is there are no trends. So the fact that the IPCC recently claimed there are, and that they are attributable to your gas stove is, as he put it, “fiction, misinformation even.”

The data in question are widely available and easy to access. Here is the main summary:

This graph shows 12-month running totals of hurricane events (top line) and major hurricane events (bottom line) from 1980 to 2023. It is quite clear that neither series is trending upwards. However, the bottom line is holding roughly steady while the top line is declining, which means the fraction of hurricanes which are classified as major is increasing slightly. Busted!

Not so fast, Pielke Jr. argues. That data set only goes back to 1980. Another data set covering the Western North Pacific and the North Atlantic goes back to 1950 and provides a longer picture of the fraction of hurricanes that are major. Here is what that data looks like:

If you only look at the part after 1980 then it’s an upward trend. But over the entire data set there is no trend. So guess who’s really busted.

To recap, there is no trend in the number of hurricanes, or the number of major hurricanes, or the proportion of hurricanes that are classified as major. And somehow the folks at the IPCC took the data and concluded that (1) yes there are trends and (2) the trends are attributable to greenhouse gases.

Pielke Jr. concludes something different:

“The IPCC AR6 failed spectacularly on tropical cyclones in concluding that both detection and attribution have not only been achieved related to an increasing proportion of major hurricanes, but that such conclusions have strengthened since 2014. This is all fiction, misinformation even. Yes, I know these are strong words. The IPCC is far too important to allow errors of this magnitude.”

Alternatively, because the IPCC does make errors of this magnitude, and all the errors only ever go in one direction, the IPCC is not important any more. Except as a source of agitprop.

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