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2023 hurricane season: worse than expected

06 Dec 2023 | Science Notes

In the upside-down world of climate science, where every bad thing is caused by climate change and there is a voracious need for weather disasters to prove just how bad things are getting, nothing cheers up the activists like a large catastrophic hurricane or two. The more homes get knocked over and the more fatalities the better, and if you can tally up at least a billion dollars in damages then it’s truly an occasion for celebration. But as Roger Pielke Jr. notes, that the 2023 US hurricane season came and went and there was only one hurricane making landfall, despite forecasts of many more. Spare a thought for the poor alarmists whose hopes were dashed once again.

The one hurricane, Idalia, made landfall as a Category 3 storm. Pielke Jr.’s graph of the long term trend of landfalling hurricanes is as follows:

Yup, that’s sloping down. As for major storms (Cat 3 or higher), here’s that graph:

Yes we have no trend. Normalized damage losses (adjusted for inflation and income growth) show no secular change from 1900 to 1970, after which they rise for reasons Pielke Jr. doesn’t explain. But he also notes that 2023 will be exceptionally low in the context of the modern record because there was only one hurricane.

Finally Pielke Jr. takes stock of the hurricane forecasts for the 2023 season and points out that 8 of the 11 predicted it would be worse, or better if you’re an alarmist, than they would have done if their authors had just used the historical average. So almost all the hurricane models have a built-in bias toward the future being stormier than the past. Which doesn’t mean the future will actually be just as stormy, or less so. It simply means that whatever it turns out to look like, we can’t claim to understand what is driving it because the scientific models make predictions that turn out to be unreliable.

Like we say, worse than expected. Unless you prefer to avoid catastrophes and costly weather disasters, in which case you’re (a) in luck, and (b) normal.

2 comments on “2023 hurricane season: worse than expected”

  1. It is the same in Australia. Insurance companies want to ? Increase premiums. Well, they are blaming the "Climate change" Rubbish.
    Repair bill are higher because the cost is higher , but even that is not truer, there are vastly more people living in these areas. People there built a house for 150k. That house burns down. To replace it in 20023 will cost 250k . Nothing to do with climate.

  2. Same scam in Canada.
    I fired one insurance company for that.
    It pays to shop around or get advice of rational people who have.
    Insurance companies vary in their attention to factors, in my experience. You want a company that will actually look at risk, such as whether 200 apartments are in one building or spread over eight buildings with significant space between.
    And I see a tendency to reduce prices to get business then jump rates when they wake up to reality of risk level.

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