An update to US Hurricane Intensity 1900-2012 – no recent trend with hurricane Sandy

While there is still lots of caterwauling about Hurricane Sandy and climate, it is telling that this new update shows that the last five years record the lowest period of landfalling hurricane intensity of any five-year period dating all the way back to 1900.

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. writes on his blog today:

The figure above comes courtesy Chris Landsea of the US National Hurricane Center. It shows the annual intensity of US landfalling hurricanes from 1900 to 2012. The figure updates a graph first published in Nature in 2005 ( Figure 2 here in PDF, details described there).

The data shown above includes both hurricanes and post-tropical cyclones which made landfall at hurricane strength (i.e., storms like Sandy). In addition to Sandy, there have been 3 other such storms to make landfall, in 1904, 1924 and 1925. The addition of the storms does not make a significant impact on the graph.

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Here’s another opportunity for the caterwaulers like alarming Al Gore, weepy Bill McKibben, joltin Joe Romm, and kid blogger Chris Mooney to learn from actual data and history and stop trying to turn Sandy into a poster child for climate .

Unfortunately, based on their past history, I’m betting they’ll pull a Sgt. Shultz and profess “I’ve learned NOTH-ING!”.

Going back to what Pielke wrote in 2005 in his rebuttal to Kerry Emanuel this still holds true, and even more so related to the infrastructure damage seen from Sandy:

Looking to the future, Emanuel1 provides no evidence to alter the conclusion that changes in society will continue to have a much larger effect than changes in climate on the escalating damage resulting from tropical cyclones.

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43 thoughts on “An update to US Hurricane Intensity 1900-2012 – no recent trend with hurricane Sandy

  1. but the facts don’t matter to those who used Hurricane Sandy for their own nefarious purposes.
    pricing carbon dioxide is now backed by almost all of Big Oil. Newsday appears to be the only MSM outlet reporting this:

    16 Nov: Newsday: Carbon tax: Exxon backs Obama plan to impose climate change fees
    Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation, giving newfound prominence to an idea once anathema in Washington…
    It is gaining interest as lawmakers and President Barack Obama pledge to simplify the corporate tax code and raise revenue to narrow the deficit.
    ***The devastation from superstorm Sandy following the wildfires and drought of this summer have also increased concern about global warming…
    “It does fit with the Republican idea of cleaning up the tax code, and to have a clean instrument for addressing this problem,” John Reilly, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said in an interview. ***Given this year’s weather disasters, “it’s hard to stand up and say global warming is a hoax,” he said…
    The Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, which says it advocates libertarian and conservative values, held a full-day discussion Nov. 13 to examine how best to implement a carbon tax, which its economists say could enable a cut in corporate taxes and head off regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. The same day, an opponent of the idea, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department, seeking private e-mails it said would show the administration is secretly pushing for a carbon tax.
    “They want new sources of revenues, and this is an enormous one,” Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Washington- based CEI, said in an interview. “This thing is gaining steam. If successful, it would be disastrous.”…
    The carbon tax also has had support among economists who have worked for Republican administrations, including Kevin Hassett, who is also at AEI, and Gregory Mankiw, an economist at Harvard University…
    Exxon is the biggest U.S. natural-gas producer.
    ***A carbon tax could boost demand for natural gas in U.S. power plants, as gas emits half the carbon dioxide as coal when burned to make electricity…
    Carbon Conference
    Exxon, the world’s largest energy company by market value, gave AEI $295,000 last year. Exxon played no part in Mathur’s research or the meeting, she said…

    http://newyork.newsday.com/news/nation/carbon-tax-exxon-backs-obama-plan-to-impose-climate-change-fees-1.4229894

  2. All they’ll do is point to the spike in 2005/6 timeframe and ignore the rest while spinning some tale that that is the smoking gun.

  3. What is the elevator speech for what is measured by the “U.S. Hurricane Power Dissipation Index”?

    Judging by the number of people who had their ELECTRIC power dissipated by hurricanes, the past two years must have been pretty bad. Heck, some in the New York Area are still without power.

    Is size of storm an element in the Power Dissipation Index? How does a very large 80+ mph wind field compare to a much smaller 80+ wind field with a tight 120 mph core?

    Is location a factor? Is this a measure of dissipation on to US land? Is it a max point at landfall or integrated over the history over land?

    Is Rain fall Included?
    Is Storm Surge included? and if so, is it normalized for tides?
    With units of “meters/second cubed” ( there must be a scaling factor missing) Rain and Surge seem not to be included.

    “m/s cubed” ? m^3/s^3? Energy * velocity / mass?
    (((Volume / sec) / sec ) / sec)?
    I look forward to an “Aha!” moment soon.

  4. The series in the diagram does not really look like it’s trending anywhere, either up or down. I could use it as a good-quality source of random numbers.

  5. John Reilly: “it’s hard to stand up and say global warming is a hoax”

    It may be hard, but that’s what real men do. They do the right thing, no matter how hard it looks at first. Of course, co-director of a murky Joint Program, existence of which depends on perpetuating that very hoax, can’t possibly behave like that, because a soft backbone was a job requirement in the first place.

  6. @Pat

    The opening statement of that article “Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation” is probably untrue. The cost of compliance isn’t what bothers them about regulation what bothers them about regulation is that it would hit them just as hard as other segments of the fossil fules industry that they compete against.

    Your quote does however contain the real reason big oil supports a carbon tax further down.

    “Exxon is the biggest U.S. natural-gas producer.
    ***A carbon tax could boost demand for natural gas in U.S. power plants, as gas emits half the carbon dioxide as coal when burned to make electricity”

    The cost of regulation wouldn’t hurt Exxon Mobil’s profits because they would pass the cost on to consumers. What Exxon Mobil and the rest of big oil cares about is the electric generation fules market where a carbon tax would give them a competative advantage over coal. Coal is currently king when it comes to generating electricity in the US. If the EPA regulations go into affect, natural gas is unlikely to have an advantage over coal.

  7. I still haven’t seen any empirical scientific evidence that CO2 has any part in global whatever.
    It is begining to appear that both sides are suckling at opposite sides of the same trough.

  8. On the topic of Sandy: I recently produced a YouTube video in response to President Obama’s comments about Sandy and climate change–ones he made in his recent press conference. In response to the video, I’ve received a number of YouTube comments. This following one is astounding in its ignorance, particularly with respect to how surface temperatures fuel hurricanes. I figured you’d appreciate it. It was so pathetic I didn’t want to reply to the author. It needed to stand alone.

    “This is a complete load of tripe. I can never determine if someone of your ilk is simply being contrarian to make money or actually believe the crap that you put out. you need to do a breakout of warming trends for north hemisphere temperatures. Maybe that will help you get a clue. If you are still putting out false information about climate change 4 years from now and are continuing to place our future generations in danger I hope somebody catches up with you and gives you what you deserve.”

    Manmade global warming is a belief-based hypothesis. It has no basis in data…OR common sense.
    (Hmm. That sounds like a good title for a book.)

    I don’t recall linking this YouTube video before at WUWT:

  9. @MattS
    I would go farther…. Any corporation with more LNG projects than coal mines would by their self-interest support a carbon-tax as their LNG product becomes marginally more valuable than the cheaper (at least at face value) coal alternative. No better way to hurt the coal export market (an the coal miners, btw) than to tax it at the mine loading hopper.

    There is no reason to play a “zero sum game”, but why play a “negative sum game”? I guess we have reached world wide state of Prisoner’s Dilemma. Machiavelli lives!

  10. Big Oil is backing the carbon tax for the same reason the big insurance and pharma companies backed Obamacare – this is a corporatist crony regime in power. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they’re afraid of the pending EPA war on fraking and shale oil. If Big Oil doesn’t play ball, the government will see to it that they pay. If they play, they’ll get some scraps off the table. It has probably been made abundantly clear to them (privately) that they’ll be completely shut out if they protest.

  11. RobW says:
    November 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    But what have those facts got to do with CAGW?
    “””””””””””””””””””””

    On the presumption that the question is serious, one of the main predictions of CAGW proponents was that there would be a substantial increase in severe weather events such as hurricanes and cyclones.

  12. These people never stop because it is their big source of money. Today it is hurricane sandy and tomorrow it will be south Atlantic sea snails weakening( as published in Nature Geoscience) because of C02- oops, that was today.

  13. Just put down current issue of the Smithsonian, there were no less than 5 instances of climate change alarms. TOP 3
    1″Fire season is 75 Days longer due to CLIMATE CHANGE”….ahhh what a colorful season, no wait. wat?
    2The Harvard chemist, Jim Anderson article – included this highlighted, all caps “RISING LEVELS OF GREENHOUSE GASES HAVE ALREADY BEEN ACCOMPANIED BY WEIRD RAINFALL PATTERNS” …done its over, tax me
    3″Believes climate change is causing more storms”…poseidon does not

    No recent trend, WUWT? Like hell, current periodicals are trending off the chart with climate change, more intensity alarms. The science is so OVER, its getting weird…reminds me of a quote.

    “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro” HST

    NOW is the time for WUWT to turn pro.

  14. From Bob Tisdale on November 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm:

    Manmade global warming is a belief-based hypothesis. It has no basis in data…OR common sense.
    (Hmm. That sounds like a good title for a book.)

    Climate-based Hysterics
    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of commonsense at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

  15. I provided a simpler, and just as definitive, analysis of mean hurricane and tropical storm strength, and over a longer time frame, at

    Hurricane/Tropical Storm Strengths, 1851 – 2010

    There is no upward trend at all, over the past 160 years (my graph shows decadal-average mean storm strength, which is more appropriate and obviously a cleaner, clearer presentation). Sandy only showed that building down to the very edge of the stormy Atlantic is, over time, a losing bet with Nature, and any “expert” knows it has happened before, before the “global warming” of the last 35 years or so (in the last half of which there has been no warming at all). Any scientist who thinks Sandy was the result of global warming (of only about 1 degree C) is simply not competent to talk as an expert to the public about it.

  16. Emanuel1 provides no evidence

    “Evidence? We ain’t got no evidence. We don’t need no evidence! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ evidence!”

  17. Bob Tisdale says:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    On the topic of Sandy: I recently produced a YouTube video in response to President Obama’s comments about Sandy and climate change–ones he made in his recent press conference. In response to the video, I’ve received a number of YouTube comments. This following one is astounding in its ignorance, particularly with respect to how surface temperatures fuel hurricanes. I figured you’d appreciate it. It was so pathetic I didn’t want to reply to the author. It needed to stand alone.

    “. . . If you are still putting out false information about climate change 4 years from now and are continuing to place our future generations in danger I hope somebody catches up with you and gives you what you deserve.”

    Here’s how I’d respond:

    You’d have said that 4 years ago, back in 2008–and temperatures haven’t risen since.
    And you’d have said it back in 2004–and you’d have been wrong again, four years later.
    And you’d have said it back in 2000–and you’d have been wrong again, four years later.
    So I’m not worried about 2016.
    Maybe you’re the one who should be worried–the warm is poised to turn.

  18. Since we know with some confidence that the earth has warmed in the last century. Although there is certainly some uncertainty about the magnitude of that warming. What this actually tells us is that there is no obvious correlation between the earth’s temperature and hurricanes. At least not within the temperature range we have experienced in the last century. There are simply too many other variables involved.

  19. aharris says:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm
    Big Oil is backing the carbon tax for the same reason the big insurance and pharma companies backed Obamacare – this is a corporatist crony regime in power. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they’re afraid of the pending EPA war on fraking and shale oil. If Big Oil doesn’t play ball, the government will see to it that they pay. If they play, they’ll get some scraps off the table. It has probably been made abundantly clear to them (privately) that they’ll be completely shut out if they protest.
    ——————————–
    This is what happens when you let Chicago style politics loose in Washington.
    You could end up with a horse head in your bed or it could be your head that rolls.
    cn

  20. davidmhoffer says:
    November 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    RobW says:
    November 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    But what have those facts got to do with CAGW?
    “””””””””””””””””””””

    On the presumption that the question is serious, one of the main predictions of CAGW proponents was that there would be a substantial increase in severe weather events such as hurricanes and cyclones.
    ============================================================

    My apologies David. I am a skeptic thru and thru. Data and models for CAGW do not match very often. I should have been more clear with my jab at the religion of CAGW.

  21. I guess it is simply way to much to ask that commentators and supposed reporters check their facts. I suspect this is the same syndrome that lay behind the success of celebrity rumors. People simply choose the fiction they wish to believe.

  22. Stephen Rasey says:
    November 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    …some in the New York Area are still without power.

    With no help from that idiot hauling the front-end loader on a flat bed that was taking out power lines because the boom was left too high… Must have gone three or four blocks snapping lines.

  23. Don’t call Sandy a hurricane. The storm never had sustained wind speeds of hurricane level. Check any of the land stations or the off-shore buoys. Read the NHC forecasts and discussion reports, such as http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al18/al182012.discus.029.shtml?
    Sandy weakened just before landfall to speeds well below the hurricane threshold. The media used the NHC forecasts that were wrong, or used weasel words such as “hurricane gusts”
    There are no wind data anywhere that Sandy qualified as a hurricane at landfall.
    To qualify as a hurrican, you need sustained speeds of 33 meters per second averaged over one minute. I saw no wind speeds for sandy anywhere near that, the most I saw was 28 meters per second at one off-shore buoy, most other speeds were around 25 meters per second at or just offshore of Cape May NJ and outside NY harbor. Speeds off Long Island and Delaware were lower than that.

  24. You’re preaching to the choir here. None of this will come as a suprise to any informed readers, the problem is getting the msm to spread the word to the rest of the world.

  25. Obama in Doha: rise of temperature has accelerated over the past ten years, so has sea levels, bla, bla, bla. This hubris comes from the president of the USA.
    The biggest risk for now is skeptics claiming they have won the argument.
    So keep those posts comming.

  26. It is not the severity of the storm; it is where the storm affects the land! New York got it by an almost Cat 1. If that storm had occurred in Mexico, it would have been page 14 news.

    Like climate verses weather, the size of a storm is now measured by the monetary damage it causes.

    Global Warming will need to freeze/torture Europe for two or three years, then the hockey stick will be broken.

    It is sad that warmers must sell that a colder world is better. And that deniers must sell that a warmer world is better. This is like the Democrats pushing for tax hikes, and the Republicans fighting against the tax hikes. True proof that the world is now upside down.

  27. To Dr. Lurtz:

    This is like the Democrats pushing for tax hikes, and the Republicans fighting against the tax hikes. True proof that the world is now upside down.

    Check your circuits, sir. You’re getting wrong answers. Of course, your use of the pejorative term “deniers” shows which side you’re on.

  28. @WiRW Anybody have any idea what “m/s cubed” is?

    I’m still waiting on that, too.
    Energy could be measured in kg m^2/sec^2
    To get Power, as in Power Dissipation Index, you divide by time
    Power measured in kg m^2/sec^3.

    To get m^3/sec^3, that is “m/s cubed”,
    You would divide (like normalizing for an index)
    Power (kg-m^2/sec^3) [estimated how?] by some unknown quantity measured in kg/m (huh?!?)

    Let’s see what Google provides… Wikipedia has mention without definition.
    Oh goody! Climate Audit has a DOC…

    Power Dissipation Index (PDI) for a tropical cyclone is defined as, “the sum of the maximum one-minute sustained wind speed cubed, at six-hourly intervals, for all periods when the cyclone is at least tropical storm strength”. I apply a scaling factor so as to match the scale that Emanuel uses. ….

    Cube the one max wind speed every six hours and sum over the year? Really??

    Assuming that definition is close to the one use create the chart at top….
    Let’s review my initial questions, shall we?
    Is size of storm an element in the Power Dissipation Index? Nope.
    How does a very large 80+ mph wind field compare to a much smaller 80+ wind field with a tight 120 mph core? the big storm gets a much smaller index value.
    Is location a factor? Maybe. The “US” part of the title might mean is is from measurements over the US. But it might mean ‘US NOAA data”
    Is this a measure of dissipation on to US land? Not sure.
    Is it a max point at landfall or integrated over the history over land? Whole history at least tropical storm strength, over land and water(?).
    Is Rain fall Included? Nope.
    Is Storm Surge included? and if so, is it normalized for tides? Nope.

    So my elevator speach is, ” ‘The US Hurricane Power Dissipation Index’ is a numerical quantity that has little link with real world physics.” According to the index, area and volume matter not. Nor does rain and water. An upward or downward trend over time means little interms of climate. Four days of a 60 mph Sandy = 1/2 day of a 120 mph compact storm. I think there are some important things missing from this index.

  29. Who is Richard Windsor? says:
    November 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm
    Anybody have any idea what “m/s cubed” is?

    Without knowing the context, this is my answer. Since m/s is speed, and m/s/s is change in speed or acceleration, then m/s/s/s would be change in acceleration. This would happen for example when an object is far out in space and it falls to earth. The acceleration would increase the closer it got to Earth. Another example would be when there are two point charges and one is fixed. The one that can move would experience changes in force, hence changes in acceleration.

  30. Having just seen the comment by Stephen Rasey, did you mean (m/s)^3? If so, it does come up in a physics text that I proofread for a publisher. The formula for the output power of a wind turbine is P = 0.556 kg/m^3(r^2)(v^3). So with r in m and v in m/s, the P comes out in W. Does this help?

  31. To Werner Brozek:

    Your formula holds the essence of the answer. The comment on Emanuel’s paper by Landsea gives the source of the PDI as wind velocity cubed. This has dimensions of power x length / (unit mass). Thus the PDI, multiplied by the density of the air, gives power exerted per unit area. As Stephen Rasey points out, it may not be the best measure.

    To Stephen Rasey:

    Clearly you are not impressed with PDI as a measure. May I point out that this “figure of merit” was used by Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a strong proponent of AGW, in an effort to make his case that AGW is causing stronger hurricanes? Roger Pielke Jr. is simply quoting from an effort made by Dr. Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center to show that Emanuel’s proposed correction to the PDI (see original paper in Nature) over-corrected and caused older hurricanes to be falsely shown as weaker.

  32. @Wernerdid you mean (m/s)^3? I think the author meant that with “m/s cubed”. And it is consistent with the blockquote description: “max wind speed cubed”

    output power of a wind turbine is P = 0.556 kg/m^3(r^2)(v^3).
    So power out of a turbine is proportional to velocity cubed. Interesting.
    Take away the wind turbine (divide by the area of the turbine), and you will get something proportional to (Power / cross-sectional unit area), and it is turning into a “Power flux” attempting to be represented by the outlier, max 1-minute sustained winds at the one most concentrated observed point in the flux. I harken back to “Div, Grad, Curl, and all that!”

    I don’t think anything calling itself Power * Index and not integrating over the cross-sectional area of the storm is a useful measure. We also have to integrate that flux area around the circumference of the storm… after all, we can horizontally stack turbines in a wind field. If we do that, we do indeed get the missing m in the numerator. But that means we need to know the radius of all storms are of equal size. If we let radius of the storm be a function of max velocity, the dimensional algebra falls apart again. Either way — Fail!

    @Chris R. — Thanks for the backstory. Well it’s good to know that I arrived at my conclusion from first principles rather than reputation.

  33. why is mine not posting?

    [Reply: Per site Policy, no discussion of HAARP. Also, please post using only one screen name. We can tell, you know. — mod.]

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