Unsubstantiated Claim Over One Cyclone: Climate Change is "Expanding the Tropics"

Because tornadoes and cyclones never appeared in temperate zones before


Story submission by Eric Worrall

The Sydney Morning Herald has advanced a claim that Cyclone Marcia, the cat 5 cat 2 storm which is still raging in Queensland, is evidence that the tropics are “expanding”.

According to the SMH;

“The southward shift of cyclones under climate change will force planners to demand stronger building standards as far south as Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, Cairns climatologist Steve Turton says.

Storms such as the category 5 Cyclone Marcia, which crossed the central Queensland coast on Friday, “are going to become more common in the future along the eastern seaboard of Australia,” Professor Turton from James Cook University told Fairfax Media.

Climate change is resulting in the expansion of the tropics at the rate of 150-300 kilometres every 30 years, bringing more regions in the path of potential cyclones, Professor Turton said. (See his essay in the 2014 State of the Tropics report.)

“The research is suggesting that, in a warmer world, we’ll get more intense cyclones because there’ll be more energy in the oceans and also the atmosphere,” he said.


Professor Turton then rather spoils the effect, by stating “For north-eastern Australia, cyclones may become fewer in number but more intense when they form”.

My question – if the conditions promoting cyclonic activity are intensifying and expanding, why would we expect *fewer* cyclones? Why wouldn’t cyclones become more intense AND more frequent? Could this prediction of fewer cyclones be a desperate attempt to accommodate an inconvenient observation, that cyclones are becoming more infrequent – an attempt to spin a rather feeble cyclone season into a story of impending doom?

As WUWT has noted in previous posts, the evidence is that tornado intensity is decreasing http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/14/are-tornadoes-getting-stronger-rebuttal-to-elsner-et-al/ . I don’t know what the figures are for cyclone intensity. No disrespect to my fellow Australians, whose houses were damaged in the last few days, but despite Marcia and Cyclone Lam, this year has been a rather feeble Australian cyclone season.

Cyclone and Tornado intensity seem to me to be a source of embarrassment for climate modellers. Like the inexorable growth of Antarctic sea ice, alarmists would surely be more comfortable if cyclones and tornadoes behaved themselves, comporting themselves in a properly apocalyptic fashion, instead of wimping out shortly after making landfall.

And a quick look at the historical record reveals plenty of extreme weather events which made it into temperate zones in the past – such as several dangerous tornadoes which struck the state of Minnesota in the 1800s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_tornadoes_and_tornado_outbreaks

When put on the spot, the doomsayer’s only option is to issue scary warnings of what the future may hold – because there is no evidence that any dangerous intensification of extreme weather is occurring right now.

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February 21, 2015 8:01 am

global warming theory predicts the poles will warm faster then the tropics. this will reduce the efficiency of the global heat engine, which will on average reduce wind strength.

Reply to  ferdberple
February 21, 2015 4:08 pm

What, because winds only blow north and south???

Reply to  Barry
February 21, 2015 4:41 pm

If the earth weren’t spinning, yes. Winds would only blow north and south. It is the spinning of the earth that takes the north south winds and turns them into east and west winds.
Regardless, it has been known for centuries, that it is the temperature difference between the equator and the poles that is the ultimate driver of weather.
I’m surprised that you weren’t already aware of this.

Reply to  Barry
February 22, 2015 3:33 am

No because strong winds, storms, are a process to distribute heat from the tropics to the poles. Higher polat temperatures mean that there is less of a heat differential to cause the storms.

Reply to  Barry
February 22, 2015 4:33 am

Ignorance is bliss. Fact is that the wind that start cyclone and hurricanes are temperature gradient dependent, hence fewer if the gradient decreases, but the intensity of storms is dependent on energy availability. This has nothing to do with temperature gradient and everything to do with the latent heat of water vapor condensation. Hence higher intensity with higher ocean surface temperature. If only the world worked like you dream it does “ferdberple” then you could dream away AGW

Leo G
Reply to  Barry
February 22, 2015 2:12 pm

“Hence higher intensity with higher ocean surface temperature.”
No- higher sea surface temperature would only marginally increase the evaporation which provides the energy for these weather systems. Moreover intensity usually refers to rainfall intensity, not windspeed, and while the two are related, they are not mutual proxies. It has raised eyebrows that Cyclone Marcia was classed as a Cat 5 at landfall on the subjective basis of increasing rainfall intensity at the eye wall and not on the basis of windspeed measurements at that time and place.

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  Barry
February 24, 2015 2:45 am
Leo G
Reply to  ferdberple
February 21, 2015 6:02 pm

And how would that increase the tilt of the earth’s self-rotation axis with respect to the axis of its rotation abround the sun- because that is what determines the location of the tropics?

Reply to  ferdberple
February 22, 2015 4:36 am

Here is some bad news for all the deniers
“For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.
One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.
But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.
He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.”

Reply to  Unbolted
February 22, 2015 7:05 am

You mean how the Sierra foundation was caught out taking $25 million from an oil concern because they were against coal? Whoops. Don’t for get “big Oil” fund many climate change groups because they know they are basically into energy and if they can make money of renewables they will do it, because profit is profit no matter the source.

Reply to  Unbolted
February 22, 2015 1:43 pm

Well actually big oil wants to get rid of coal (their main competitor) and they figure oil is less easily replaced, since basically everyone owns a car, but only governments own a coal fired power station. They also figure we would need massive amounts of diesel and gas “backup” for when sunshine and wind fail.
They also think they are successfully rebranding themselves as “energy” companies by putting photos of wind turbines on their annual report covers.

Ray Boorman
Reply to  Unbolted
February 22, 2015 3:56 pm

Unbolted, the people with very real vested interests are those 95% of scientists who get all their money from Big Government. They push the alarmist line because their job depends on it being true. Have you not noticed the many billions of dollars in research grants given out every year by Big Government to “catastrophic climate change” research?

ron dolton
Reply to  Unbolted
February 22, 2015 4:56 pm

Maybe you should read this-
Wouldn’t believe in everything you read in the NYT.

Reply to  Unbolted
February 23, 2015 4:21 am

ron dolton
Maybe you should read this-
Same Briggs that published fiction with the great cancer cure delusional Monckton as co-author? LMAO

Reply to  Unbolted
February 23, 2015 4:24 am

So what!
Who pays the alarmists? Greenpeace pays for many and they do not have vested interests???

Reply to  ferdberple
February 23, 2015 9:23 am

This is the second law of thermodynamics at work. The storms are driven by temperature difference across the surface rather than vertically. According to the second law, a reduction in the temperature gradient results in a reduction in the output available from the system. It also results in reduced efficiency.
The frequency and intensity data of tornadoes and cyclones support this idea, even when we have gotten so much better in the last 30 years of telling whether one of these storms has happened. If climate models applied the second law correctly, they would have shown a world with higher average temperature and less temperature difference from the tropics to the poles is a world with fewer less intense storms. One would think the world would be ecstatic about this truth, the problem is it takes weight off the “climate refugees” part of the story.

February 21, 2015 8:01 am

Sorry off topic –
Africa, what a sorry state for climate data. Pitiful actually.

February 21, 2015 8:05 am

They’ll be calling them “SuperStorms” soon.
Whenever the wind is below the level that constitutes a hurricane, it’s not a tropical storm, no, it’s a SuperStorm. (A La Tropical Storm Sandy.)
Now that’s scary!

Reply to  RobRoy
February 21, 2015 8:14 am

Sandy was a Stupid Storm (excuse me, meant Super Storm) because it happened to hit NYC, or close enough… Anything that hits the NYC area is disastrous and evidence of CAGW and the end of the world. Weather that hits other parts of the USA are just really bad. I think it has something to do with all the super heroes that live in and around Gotham.

Reply to  SMC
February 21, 2015 4:43 pm

Reminds me of that drawing; The world as seen from NYC. About 80% of the picture is the city, everything beyond the river is the remaining 20%.
I’ve met enough New Yorkers to realize how accurate the drawing is.

Reply to  RobRoy
February 21, 2015 11:06 am

In my observation, weather events are rated by the media on their economic impact rather than meteorological magnitudes.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
February 21, 2015 4:44 pm

I would refine that a little further. Weather events are rated based on their economic impact on reporters.
If it hits a place where a lot of reporters live, then it’s a big story. If it hits places where the fly over people live, then it’s less of a story.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
February 22, 2015 3:52 am

They only use nominal dollar figures for the damage estimates and never bother to mention higher development intensities over time in coastal zones. It’s a two-fer. Always upward!

M Seward
Reply to  RobRoy
February 21, 2015 1:20 pm

They already have. As Marcia blew herself out over Yeppoon and then move south to give Brisbane a soaking she was a superstorm. CAGW is the gift that keeps on giving. On the bright side it is causing all the morons in the world develop a Turette’s like symptom of uncontrollably saying words like ‘denier’, ‘superstorm’, ‘climate change’, ‘carbon pollution’ etc thereby advertising their condition. I hope they are working on some medication for these poor sods. Its worse than ebola in certain demographics.

Reply to  M Seward
February 21, 2015 4:45 pm

I read a report a few days ago that Global Warming is to blame for the recent ebola outbreaks.

Spotted Reptile
Reply to  RobRoy
February 21, 2015 2:41 pm

The ‘normal’ Australian cyclone season sees about ten cyclones between November and April, of which about six make landfall. This year as far as I know, we have had three, of which two made landfall the other day. In order to keep the global warming fires going, these cyclones have been upped in intensity and drama to make up for the lack of others. Cat 5 my foot. It was barely a Cat 3 and fizzed as soon as it touched the beach, yes lots of rain and wind, but leaves don’t stay on trees in a Cat 5. Kids were playing on the breakwater for gods sake. Ridiculous.

Reply to  Spotted Reptile
February 21, 2015 5:46 pm

Exactly, where is the data to back up the claim, Middle Percy Island, almost in the path of the storm when it was supposed to be at Cat 5 had max wind gust of 208 and a low pressure of 975. This only makes it a cat 3. Yeppoon which according to the Media hype “bore the full force of the cat 5 cyclone” had wind gusts of 160 km. Can’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Reply to  Spotted Reptile
February 21, 2015 9:16 pm

Exactly … there is no way at all this was even a cat 4 , just punched in as a CAT 3 , glad to see others on the ball

February 21, 2015 8:12 am

Where have I heard this crap before? Oh yea, here in the US a few hurricane seasons back. Until NOAA NHC was totally embarrassed (or at least should have been) by how far off their 2013 hurricane projections were:
Projection:”or the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).”
These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
Actual: Two short live CAT 1 hurricanes

February 21, 2015 8:18 am

The observed reduction in recent tropical cyclone activity is likely a result of an increase in amplitude of Rossby waves in the polar jet streams under the prevailing meridional flow regime. Deep troughs are able to redistribute tropical heat as effectively as tropical cyclones, and can therefore proxy for them during periods of dominantly meridional flow. When zonal flow prevails, as it did from 1909 to 1965, the amplitudes of Rossby waves in the polar jets are suppressed, and heat redistribution by tropical cyclones becomes the more important mechanism.

Farmer Gez
Reply to  davidbennettlaing
February 21, 2015 4:29 pm

I am confused by the weather effects of the Rossby waves in mid latitudes. Are the two hemispheres in sync on amplitude or opposite? I understand the waves can spin off high or low pressure cells, so do you mean that in the Southern Hemisphere we get more anti cyclones with greater amplitude in the wave and therefore less cyclones?
I was taught that cyclones are generated in warm shallow waters, so with all this talk of warmer oceans why do we not have more cyclones?

Reply to  Farmer Gez
February 21, 2015 4:48 pm

I see your problem. While there is lots of talk regarding warmer oceans. The oceans themselves are failing to warm.

February 21, 2015 8:19 am

More climate hype liars. Tropical Cyclones go into temperate regions on occasion. Always have and always will. And the gobbledegook about stronger but less frequent but worse but rarer is simply sciencey sounding bs.

Reply to  hunter
February 21, 2015 6:45 pm

‘During the 95 year period from 1910 to 2004 there were a total of fourteen tropical cyclones that either caused gales or caused wind-related property damage in the Perth region.’

February 21, 2015 8:24 am

One big problem is that Cyclone Marcia was never more than a cat 3 storm and came ashore as a cat 2 – check the actual SSW (sustained wind speeds) and gusts…The Australian media were actually making things up about this storm.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
February 21, 2015 12:50 pm

check the actual SSW” – please can you provide a link to the data, I can’t find it in bom.gov.au

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 21, 2015 1:33 pm

Scroll down to Capricornia. Links to the stations on the left. Also look at Middle Percy Island in the Central Coast-Whitsundays group.. Currently busted, but that is where the highest gust speed was at 4:30 am on the 20th. (208km/hr. Out in open water 70km off-shore, on approach, but still only a Cat 3.
Also Creal Reef in Coral Sea group. Good idea to have a map open to get the sequence right.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 21, 2015 2:34 pm

Thanks. Will do. Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Marcia) says it was a Cat 5 on or just before landfall, but the only Cat 5 references are to news outlets and the premier. I wanted to check a bit further.
PS. If the central pressure was 929 as reported, then it was just a Cat 5 on that basis, regardless of windspeed.

Leo G
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 22, 2015 5:06 pm

The lowest measured pressure at the Middle Percy Island weather station was 972hPa. At that time the cyclone was at its maximum reported intensity. The distance between the island and the landfall along the cyclone path was about 60km. The eye wall passed directly over the island. Any lower pressures reported were not observations, but rather estimates, and the U.S. Navy has conceded that its Dvorak estimates did not match the ground-based observations.
The Dvorak method uses infrared satellite images of cloud tops to estimate temperature gradients at sea level and eyewall geometry which give an inaccurate indication of wind speeds.
It seems that a decision was made to publicise information that exaggerated the severity of the system, knowing that the information was wrong, and knowing that reliable observation-based information was available.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
February 21, 2015 1:30 pm

I noticed the start of that storm on earth nullschool. I then took a look at the JTWC site to see what they were showing. They forecast Marcia to have maximum wind speed of 135 knots, while Lam was only forecast to reach around 90 knots. Then the media version of the storms came out. I read a piece today that claimed there was a maximum wind gust for Typhoon Lam clocked at 245 kph. I find that hard to believe.

Leo G
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
February 21, 2015 5:57 pm

Australian CAGW skeptic Jennifer Marohasy asked in her blog “how do we know that Cyclone Marcia was a Category 5 at landfall?”

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
February 21, 2015 9:21 pm

Yes exactly , Marcia was a CAT 3 at best … media hype and defies science as a CAT 4 even needs sustained winds of well over 110 KM/h with gusts of 225 KM/h or more … the eye passed almost directly over 2 stations and offshore got 208 KM/h and mainland got 170 Km/h max gusts …

Stephen Wilde
February 21, 2015 8:27 am

The tropics did expand during the late 20th century warming period:
but they stopped expanding around 2000 and may now be contracting as evidenced by the more meridional jet stream behaviour of recent years.
Those changes in jet stream behaviour bear no relation to CO2 emissions but do seem to correlate with levels of solar activity.
This is the best guess so far as to causation:

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
February 21, 2015 10:38 am

I thought the tropics were defined astronomically. They can’t expand unless Earth’s axial tilt increases.

Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 11:35 am

“The Tropics” lie between North and South 20 degrees latitude.
The tropics have been defined
The tropics don’t drift.

Silver ralph
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 12:08 pm

>>“The Tropics” lie between North and South 20 degrees latitude.
Between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, surely.

Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 12:34 pm


Retired Engineer Jim
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 12:58 pm

Here, here.

Stephen Wilde
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 1:15 pm

Substitute tropical air masses for the tropics.

Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 2:13 pm

Hang on, this is climate change we are talking about, so DON’T get scientific.

Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 6:57 pm

I’m sure that a lot of our Northen Hemisphere reader would love to have some tropical air masses moving North just now.

Tom Harley
Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 9:33 pm

I am sure some of our more northerly friends might like this.
Minimum temperature in Broome this week, for three nights it never came below 30C. Not bad for a coastal town. The Northern Indian Ocean out from here is hot, and we are pleading for a mild cyclone like Marcia. The quiet (nil) cyclone season is unusual, we were told to expect 4.

Tom Harley
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
February 21, 2015 11:05 pm

Check out the SST off Australia’s NW coast: http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDY00007.shtml

Joel O’Bryan
February 21, 2015 8:35 am

Like the GCM CMIP 3/5 ensembles, the CAGW strategy is cover every possible outcome of our ever-changing climate, warmer, cooler, wetter, drought, more hurricaanes, less hurricanes, etc. Then the Climate Change faithful always can post hoc cherry pick the result that agreed with reality. A naive, gullible, indoctrinated public accepts the pseudoscience results.

Ivor Ward
February 21, 2015 8:36 am

Doesn’t need to be true. Just needs to be in the paper.

Reply to  Ivor Ward
February 21, 2015 8:48 am


Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
February 21, 2015 8:40 am

Eric, if I may, what, exactly, is the site which tracks hurricanes for your region? (I suppose it is obvious buuuuuut thought I’d ask anyway. )

Reply to  Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
February 21, 2015 3:04 pm

There are several – weather channels, radar tracking. Gympie Weather Radar is a good track events local to Hervey Bay and South East Queensland.

February 21, 2015 8:46 am

I seem to remember reading of a hurricane that hit New England in the 1880s or thereabouts. How much CAGW did we have then?
Right now as I write this, New England has been hit with a series of Nor-Easters, and somehow those storms have never been associated with “warming” of any kind– quite the opposite, actually. There have been Nor’Easters in New England for at least as long as men have been there to record the events, so there’s nothing new there.

Reply to  mjmsprt40
February 21, 2015 11:50 am

1821 and 1938 were more powerful storms than Sandy.

Bruce Cobb
February 21, 2015 8:47 am

So that’s where all that “missing heat” has gone the past 18+ years; into “more energy in the oceans and also the atmosphere”. More desperate, magical thinking on their part.

A C Osborn
February 21, 2015 9:18 am

I wonder why it stops in 2006/7?

Reply to  A C Osborn
February 21, 2015 5:40 pm

They havem’t had time to write the script, sorry, make up the data for 2007 on. Its to inconvenient.

Peter Miller
February 21, 2015 9:25 am

Well, your chart of cyclone tracks makes a complete mockery of the uniqueness of these cyclones.
Anyhow, it’s the same old story of “this subject needs a great deal more study, so gimme lots more money now!”
If there had been no Australian cyclones this year, that would have been firm evidence of global warming, likewise so would have no cyclones or the usual number of cyclones.
Every time there is a bit of bad weather somewhere the snouts lift briefly from the climate change trough and a trotter is imperiously waved demanding more money.

Sam Wright
February 21, 2015 9:26 am

The tropics is an area of latitude between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and is totally dependent on the tilt of the earth’s axis for it’s location. The angle of the tilt of the earth’s axis is slowly decreasing to the angle of about 22.5 degrees as it normally does in its cycle. The Tropics are in fact shrinking at this time and no amount of weather or climate can change that.

Reply to  Sam Wright
February 21, 2015 10:28 am

Amen. The dingbat doesn’t know what “tropics” means.

Reply to  Gamecock
February 21, 2015 4:18 pm

OK, instead of “tropics”, how about “latitude of maximum hurricane intensity”?

February 21, 2015 9:33 am

I’ve got a big fat problem with “cat 5’…. a 3 max, according to WU…

Reply to  upcountrywater
February 21, 2015 12:06 pm

Cat 5, Cat 3 whats the difference, close enough for government work.

Reply to  Alx
February 21, 2015 5:22 pm

… close enough for catastrophist’s and journalist’s work 😉

Reply to  Alx
February 21, 2015 9:22 pm

yes wxactly my thoughts …

February 21, 2015 9:41 am

There was a thread on JoNova about this. People that were there said it wasn’t as bad as forecasted but the media was hyping it up. Someone did mention that they borrowed the American term “superstorm.”
I noticed out local news hypes up every weather event. If it supposed to snow it’s a Blizzard Watch, and if it’s rain it’s Storm Watch. I guess there aren’t enough intelligent people to realize it’s hype and question the motives.

Reply to  NancyG22
February 21, 2015 9:44 am

Er…out=our. Wish we could edit.

Reply to  NancyG22
February 21, 2015 12:27 pm

Well they’ve lied about the wind speed of a couple of them in the Philippines in the last 6 months or so. Seems to be a pattern doesn’t it? Pathological.

Spotted Reptile
Reply to  NancyG22
February 21, 2015 2:45 pm

Apparently Sydney was absolutely charred the other day when the temperature hit a “massive” 35 degrees. I’ve sat and watched the cricket in Melbourne on a 45 degree day. Normal for summer every single year. In fact this year has been a bit cooler and a bit more humid with some nice storms and showers. Lovely.

Reply to  NancyG22
February 21, 2015 6:55 pm

But, as I pointed out on JoNova, it did annoy my cat.

Reply to  RoHa
February 21, 2015 9:40 pm

The only type of weather that doesn’t annoy Our cats is the hot peak of summer variety . During the middle of winter They can get quite cranky and randomly select a door to yowl at ’till it gets opened . They are convinced nice warm weather is outside one of the doors in the house if They can only find the right door to yowl at .

February 21, 2015 10:29 am

When I first moved too America one of the first things that struck me was that a cloud was a storm watch, drizzle was a storm, frost was arctic conditions and a half inch of snow was a blizzard.
I am not joking.
My first winter, woke up to a layer of, maybe, a half inch of snow, really not much more than a hard frost in UK terms, went to work and the parking lot was empty. Began to wonder if my watch was wrong … A couple of hours later, building still empty, I was wondering if it was some holiday I wasn’t aware of, then I heard footsteps in the corridor, so opened my door and asked where everyone was. “At home mostly, you are not going to get people going out to work after a snowstorm like that” I was told.

Reply to  Philip
February 22, 2015 7:41 am

What part of “America”? I don’t think you’d get that reaction in the northern part of the USA. Or anywhere in Canada, for that matter…..where I am writing from. We’d be happy with only half an inch of snow.
Ian M

February 21, 2015 10:34 am

They are not wrong, the last time I drove to Rockhampton they were in the process of moving the Tropic of Capricorn marker to Gladstone.

February 21, 2015 11:21 am

Well the evidence is irrefutable.
As irrefutable as George Clooney getting married causing property values in Venice, Italy to soar and the kangaroo population in Australia to stay the same.

February 21, 2015 11:41 am

I noticed the news readers commenting on how worrying it was that the cyclones were moving further south. So I looked at that track plotting tool as well, and you can refine it by time period and location. I selected a a few different periods of time and I think it would be very difficult to say that there was any trend in the position of landfall. A plot of tracks from 1906 to 1929 within 200 km of Rockhampton for example shows plenty of cyclones.

February 21, 2015 11:46 am

I remember the 1974 storm that hit Sydney which was the result of a Queensland cyclone http://thebeast.com.au/other/may-1974-the-storm-of-storms/#

February 21, 2015 11:56 am

Yes some of the Libs all of a sudden wanted to start grading Hurricanes on a scale like Tornadoes. Felt that CAT 1 or Tropical storm/Post Tropical Cyclone did not do what happened to NJ justice. They denied that Sandy wasn’t CAT 1 strength when it came ashore for a week and hid behind the fabricated “Super Storm” nomenclature. It was enough for me to think about what they would be saying had a Katrina or worse yet an Andrew had come ashore full strength on them.

Reply to  rah
February 21, 2015 12:52 pm

Tropical storms and nor’easters have very different structures but storms can change between the two types depending on the dynamics of the core – tropical storms have downwelling air in the eye and hence an eye wall, nor’easters and other non-tropical storms have upwelling air in the center. (There are several other characteristics too, but these are key.)
One spinoff of Sandy is changes to how storms are handed off from the National Hurricane Center to local NWS offices – when your roof is blowing off and the storm surge knocking on the back door it’s fairly immaterial what sort of storm it is.
I think people would be very surprised if a storm like Andrew could reach the northeast as a Cat 5 storm. Those are very delicate machines, and when the storm moves past the Gulf stream into northern waters it would collapse within hours. Heck, a decent dry slot can knock one down to cat 3 in hours and take days to recover.
The 1938 hurricane managed to reach New England as a Cat 3 storm only because it had a very high ground speed and didn’t have much time to spin down. New York should have learned from it, the 1950s storms, Katrina, etc.

Reply to  Ric Werme
February 21, 2015 2:44 pm

Ric Werme – “One spinoff of Sandy is changes to how storms are handed off from the National Hurricane Center to local NWS offices – when your roof is blowing off and the storm surge knocking on the back door it’s fairly immaterial what sort of storm it is.”
I think it was more like the foundation being washed out with Sandy. Storm surge was the culprit of the worst of it, not winds. Storm surge which came at high tide on an exposed area on the windward side of the storm.

Chris Hanley
February 21, 2015 1:25 pm

“Climate change is resulting in the expansion of the tropics at the rate of 150-300 kilometres every 30 years, bringing more regions in the path of potential cyclones, Professor Turton said …”.
Hmmm, I’m not sure how that claim stands up to backtesting, after all the current warming trend has been going on for around 300 years so severe tropical storms would have been relatively rare in the late 1700s:

Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 21, 2015 2:02 pm

Never mind what Turton said. Here are the people I trust to get it right:
The url for the Rapid Assessment Report (PDF) is a bit big so here’s a TinyURL:
You won’t find much in the way of full-on contradiction as these people need to watch their backs, but on page 13 it says “The winds recorded during Marcia were below the design wind speed”.

Reply to  Martin Clark
February 21, 2015 2:25 pm

Another quote:
“A community that receives an over-represented wind speed report may have potential for complacency in preparation or building standards in the future.”

Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 21, 2015 10:43 pm

Can’t wait for the tropics to move to Canada!

February 21, 2015 1:43 pm

SMH is always full of such leftist tripe. However it seems they can only fool some of the people some of the time but most are turning away, as the rag falls into the abyss:

King of Cool
February 21, 2015 2:05 pm

Yes, some people have suffered substantial damage to their homes in the path of Cyclone Marcia. Yes, there will be a big clean up required by state authorities to repair power lines and downed trees. Yes, there is an aftermath of flooding and the main highway at Gympie is cut. And yes, we do sympathise with all those people most badly affected and wish them all well in their recovery and repair phase.
But at the same time we are thankful that there is not a single report of one person being injured, let alone killed and you just have to carefully look at the pictures of all the “devastation” to reach the conclusion that this whole weather event has been a Category 5 media beat up (as far as I know the word “catastrophic” has not yet been used – “devastating” seems to be the favourite):
(Really feel for Vikki being stuck in the lift in the Bayview Tower Hotel in Yeppoon and what about all that damage in Quay St in Rockhampton? Is that the worst the ABC photographer could find?)
The other most commonly used word I think I have heard covering the event is the word “could” and most of the time what “could” have happened never did. So what are the reporters now saying to cover their inaccurate predictions – “It COULD have been worse”
Folks it HAS been worse – hundreds of times in our recorded history. One has just to spend a few minutes looking back over historical records to discover that there is nothing whatsoever abnormal about Cyclone Marcia; and that Gympie is the most flood prone town in Queensland; and we are now in the cyclone season and we get cyclones; and are in the Queensland wet season and we get heavy rain.
And on this occasion we got away extremely light

Reply to  King of Cool
February 21, 2015 10:45 pm

Hey it’s Oscar Weekend, do they give one out for lying?

February 21, 2015 2:07 pm

…So, I won’t have to move to the Tropics after all? It’ll come here? Looking off the snow covered bluffs at the frozen Mississippi today, that’s a comforting thought.

February 21, 2015 2:10 pm

The article referred to by Eric appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a day or two ago.
Pity they don’t read their archives, the following appeared in 1954 when Northern NSW was impacted. This was further South than Marcia & that was 61 years ago.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 23 February 1954
Herald” Appeal
To Aid
Flood Victims
“The Sydney Morning Herald to-day launches a public appeal for funds to aid the victims of the floods.
Already it is known that at least 22persons have lost their lives on the north coast.
Reports of what has happened in the worst-hit centres-Lismore, Casino, Kyogle, and Murwillumbah – are scanty, but it is certain that there has been great devastation.
Several thousand people at least have lost their homes. Human distress is deep and widespread.
Total losses may be even higher than those in the calamitous floods of 1949 and 1950.
In response to an appeal by the “Herald” in1950, the people of N.S.W. gave £116,549/9/10.
Leading Sydney citizens yesterday commended the 1954 “Herald” appeal to the public.
The Lord Mayor, Alderman P. D. Hills, said last night:
“I commend this appeal to the people of Sydney and ask that they remember these people in distress
“The needs of the far north coast must be desperate and urgent.
“Many of these poor people were congratulating themselves a week or 10 days ago when rain fell during the Queen’s visit and broke the prolonged drought.
“Now they have gone from one terrible extreme to another disaster.
“I hope the people of Sydney will support this appeal.”
Sir Charles Lloyd Tones summed up the response of others:
“The fund is something I believe every citizen should support.”
Subscribers should send their donations, made payable to “‘Sydney Morning Herald’ Public Appeals Fund,” to the fund, Box 4969, G.P.O., Sydney.
Donations will be acknowledged in the “Herald.”The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, Mr. J.W. R. Hughes, said last night that the donations to the fund would be deductible allowance.
Perhaps the climate is changing, back to what it used to be. Cyclical.

Robert B
Reply to  Firey
February 21, 2015 4:42 pm

The place where the cyclone made landfall is well inside the tropics. The towns in the report above are about 700km south of Shoalwater Bay.
Here is a map with cyclones coming within 200 km of the coordinates since 1906. That is cyclones close to the East coast more than 500 km south of the tropics (300 miles). There is one in 1955 that went to the edges of the subtropics at 38°S. (move mouse over track to see dates).

February 21, 2015 3:01 pm

I remember well sitting in piss pouring rain at Gosford around 1980. Our holiday was cancelled and we went home. There were 3 TCs simultaneously hanging around the east coast of AUS. I’ve never seen a weather map / satellite photo like it since.

February 21, 2015 3:08 pm

Speaking of latitude, Cyclone Marcia this week crossed the coast north of the Tropic of Capricorn, ie between the Equator and the Tropic, as tropical as it gets.

February 21, 2015 3:10 pm

And here’s one from 1946 with 3 TCs lined up along the Qld coast. (Unfortunately they didn’t include satellite photos)

February 21, 2015 4:15 pm

Prof. Turton is not the first to come up with this, and the quoted rates of expansion come from this study, I think (note: it is NOT a modeling study, but an analysis of actual data — gasp!)

Reply to  Barry
February 21, 2015 4:43 pm

how quaint, another 30 year study of climate that has a 60 year cycle!

King of Cool
Reply to  Barry
February 21, 2015 5:16 pm

“The global migration remains evident and statistically significant under a formal data homogenization procedure…….and can plausibly be linked to tropical expansion, which is thought to have anthropogenic contributions? ….Here the authors apply a state-of-the-art automated algorithm to a globally homogenized satellite data record to create a more temporally consistent record of tropical cyclone intensity within the period 1982–2009.”

THOUGHT to have? Only twenty seven years of data? Did the study cover ALL ocean basins? What about “the pause” in surface global warming in the last decade of that period? How did tropical global sea surface temperature change over the period of study? More funds required for further investigation?
Methinks you will find many many high latitude cyclones if you go back over available historical records over the last 200 years.

February 21, 2015 4:31 pm

there is no evidence the cyclones are moving further south. there is no evidence that cyclones are increasing in intensity. there is some anecdotal evidence that cyclones have become less frequent –
from – http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/climatology/trends.shtml
pity the BOM do not bother to update this since 2011. another graph that the BOM dont bother to update because it would be rather obvious with the severe lack of cyclones over the last 4 years that their more intense meme would be trash.
the BOM are playing politics. picking sides due to funding cuts from one side, scepticism of some of their more outlandish claims, and appeasement by the other. guess which side supports a tax on air..
there will be cloud over a lot of the data sets in the future if things keep on going the way they are now.

Reply to  mobihci
February 21, 2015 7:01 pm

The reduction is already visible in this present graph: “they” also noticed this inconvenient truth so they hid the data flow. How do these people live with themselves?
I guess anything goes for “The Cause” similar to ISIS in Syria and Irak.

February 21, 2015 6:55 pm

The zone ~5 degrees North and South of the Equator was and still is pretty much free of cyclones/ hurricanes/ typhoons / etc. Of course that is just a rough location indication, not a hard line: it is Nature.

Bob in Castlemaine
Reply to  AntonyIndia
February 21, 2015 7:49 pm

Maybe that’s because these storms just don’t know which way they are meant to spin AntonyIndia?

Reply to  Bob in Castlemaine
February 22, 2015 7:07 am

Your right of course. Alarmists do know how to spin though as seen ATL.

Phil B.
February 21, 2015 7:08 pm

That ’56 cyclone saw the worst flooding in NSW history. Talk about a southern-tracking storm. Makes it all the way to the South Island of NZ.
So how far must the “tropics” have expanded in the ’50s?

February 21, 2015 7:44 pm

The SMH and Peter Hannam, what a surprise that they got it wrong, again (And again and again)! The guy is a complete fool, no longer allows comments on his articles because he has been, time and time again, disproven.

Tony B
February 21, 2015 8:36 pm

One advantage of being older than 50 and having lived in SE Queensland, is that as a kid, we had what seemed to be an occasional cyclone track that came down south along the coast of Queensland. I can still remember my father driving into Brisbane and seeing the well formed clouds of a cyclone off the coast to the east in the distance. For some reason, the cyclones just simply took other routes after about the early 1970’s and there hasn’t been a good coastal cyclone south of around Bundaberg since. Climate change heh?

February 21, 2015 9:22 pm

It is very reasonable to expect that to whatever extent climate is warming, the tropics will expand and polar climates will shrink. We see warming throughout the troposphere in the Polar regions today.
Nobody seems to understand lags anymore. Just as seasonal hemispheric warming lags the sun due to the flywheel effect of the oceans, so the system response lags the 76-2000 warming.
We have no idea what caused that warming, so we have no idea whether it will resume or not.
Whatever caused that warming, if it should continue, it will reduce the hemispheric temperature gradient and climate craziness in general.

February 21, 2015 9:31 pm

2 & a half hours after landfall, no MSM were out in the wild weather getting sensational pics/footage. the only scenes being shown were a few pine trees barely moving and one tree swaying, plus some fairly wild surf. Nott below makes the same claims that there will be fewer but more intense cyclones:
20 Feb: SMH: Peter Hannam: Cyclone Marcia: How storm took forecasters by surprise
VIDEO 2 mins Cyclone Marcia: the science behind storm
Extreme natural events expert Prof. Jonathan Nott (Geoscience expert at James Cook Uni) explains what is normal and what is unusual about the ferocious weather lashing Australia’s north east.
Cyclone Marcia is one super storm that caught Bureau of Meteorology forecasters by surprise.
Up until about mid-afternoon on Thursday, meteorologists were watching the storm tracking at category 1 strength, with sustained winds of just over 100km/h.
Then, about 4pm, forecasters watched as the cyclone started to slow and its projected intensity soared.
***According to data compiled by the Space Science and Engineering Centre at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, the projected wind speed for Marcia jumped to as much as 230km/h, well into the category 5 range.
The bureau estimates the storm crossed the coast at category 5 strength on Friday morning…
Kevin Walsh, a tropical cyclone expert at the University of Melbourne, said it was a slowdown in Marcia’s march towards the coastline that triggered the rise in intensity…
In Marcia’s case, favourable upper air conditions allowed the storm to speed up its rotation, drawing up more air “like smoke rising in a smokestack”, one meteorologist said…
Rob Webb, regional director of the bureau in Queensland, said the rate of Marcia’s strengthening was “remarkable” but added “it’s too early to pinpoint exactly why”…
Sea-surface temperatures off eastern Australia have been unusually warm, particularly off the NSW coast, with temperatures as much 2-3 degrees above average, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Such rapid jumps in intensity have been observed elsewhere, such as in the north-west Pacific, Professor Walsh said.

ron dolton
Reply to  pat
February 22, 2015 3:32 am

Note the map in that article showed sea temperatures off the coast of Qld were no warmer than the average.
Live on the Sunshine Coast.A much”weaker”cyclone in 1992,Fran certainly had higher winds and more rain over a shorter time than Marcia here on the Sunshine coast.

February 21, 2015 10:01 pm

the trouble with all the reporting is there was a Tropical Low off SE Queensland before TC Marcia even made landfall. Sunshine Coast, Brisbane & Gold Coast got a drenching from that system, but all MSM relate that weather to Marcia.
“grazed” in the two articles below seems more like an excuse for why no Cat 5 landed anywhere but the sparsely populated Shoalwater Bay, which is owned by the Australian Defence Force. In 2005 the Australian federal government entered into a long-term agreement with the US over the use of Shoalwater Bay for military training purposes (Wikipedia). who knows what Marcia was when it made landfall there?
21 Feb: The Australian: Cyclone Marcia, Cyclone Lam hit Queensland, NT: live updates
The gale-force winds and torrential rain ensured it was terrifying but in the end many were counting their lucky stars Marcia crossed the coast at the largely uninhabited Shoalwater Bay before gradually losing intensity.
“It’s just a big plot of land essentially with not much there,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jess Carey told AAP…
***Marcia was a category four storm when it “grazed” Yeppoon on Friday morning but was downgraded to category three about 1pm as it hit Rockhampton…
re story below: from Gold Coast Bulletin story today “Cyclone Marcia: Gold Coast to cop a drenching as Marcia moves into south east Queensland”:
UPDATE: EX-tropical cyclone Marcia has moved out to sea, sparing the Gold Coast from predicted heavy rainfall:
21 Feb: Channel 9: ‘Destructive winds’ set to batter Gold Coast as former cyclone Marcia moves south
Gold Coast residents are bracing for severe thunderstorms and destructive winds as the fallout from ex-tropical Cyclone Marcia continues…
***Yeppoon did not feel the full force of the system, then a category 5, as the storm only “grazed” the town, Ms Palaszczuk said…
The Insurance Council of Australia has now declared the cyclone a “catastrophe” meaning all cyclone-related claims will be expedited…
no-one has convinced me yet that Marcia has affected SE-Qld. am willing to look at any data that proves otherwise.

February 21, 2015 10:32 pm

22 Feb: Brisbane Times: Cameron Atfield: Cyclone Marcia: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk backs Bureau of Meteorology after Marcia surprise
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended the Bureau of Meteorolgy’s forecasting after the rapid escalation of Tropical Cyclone Marcia caught most by surprise.
***TC Marcia had been forecast to be a Category 1 or 2 as it approached the Queensland coast but quickly gained power and was a Category 5 – the most powerful classification – when it crossed the coast near Shoalwater Bay…
“This is something that they have never seen before as well, going from a low pressure system to a (Category) 1 all the way up to a 5,” she said in Yeppoon on Saturday afternoon.
“They’d never seen this in their lifetime, so this was a rare event.
“Now, they’re going to go back and look through all the research and try to work out how that happened so quickly…
Localised flooding was reported across south-east Queensland, but Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the city was fortunate to have missed out on the forecast 120km/h winds…
there have been no winds, no rain in SE Qld today & the localised flooding was from the completely separate Tropical Low system.

February 21, 2015 11:12 pm

bearing in mind it was data compiled by the Space Science and Engineering Centre at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US that claimed Cat 5 status for TC Marcia, (see link relating to this in earlier comment):
Uni of Wisconsin-Madison: Space Science & Engineering Centre – About Us
(scroll down) Associated Organizations
(LINK)National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NOAA Satellite & Information Service, NESDIS)
20 Feb: Eureka Alert: NASA-JAXA’s TRMM satellite sees rapid intensification of category-5 Marcia
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
At 11 p.m. local time (1324 UTC) on Feb. 19, 2015, the Precipitation Radar on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed the eyewall of Tropical Cyclone Maria in the Coral Sea. At that time, Marcia was rapidly intensifying to category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, a little more than 12 hours before an expected landfall in Queensland, Australia.
The TRMM satellite is managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency…
In this case, the heavy precipitation (the red volume of the image) near the ocean surface is the powerful base of a hot tower in the southwest quadrant of the eyewall.
A “hot tower” is a rain cloud that reaches at least to the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It extends approximately nine miles (14.5 km) high in the tropics. These towers are called “hot” because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat. Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid. NASA research found that a tropical cyclone with a hot tower in its eyewall was twice as likely to intensify within the next six hours, than a cyclone that lacked a tower…READ ALL

February 21, 2015 11:32 pm

They used to predict more frequent storms. Now that their predictions have been falsified, they’re post-dicting fewer storms.
Well, I have a prediction. When they finally institute a totalitarian regime, all of their predictions will come true because we won’t be allowed to hear or say or think anything different.

Two Labs
February 22, 2015 12:22 am

Perhaps someone should take remedial Earth science. And the newspaper reporting this is called SMH? How appropriate…

February 22, 2015 2:58 am

Never underestimate the stupidity of Aussies or the level of dishonesty our ‘media’ can dish up.

Don K
February 22, 2015 5:59 am

I don’t know what the figures are for cyclone intensity.

Eric, I think the metric you are looking for is Accumulated Cyclonic Energy (ACE) the total intensity of tropical systems integrated over time. Ryan Maue tracks ACE at http://models.weatherbell.com/tropical.php As you can see in the charts at the end of the article, Southern hemisphere ACE shown no particular trend over the half century for which there is decent data and Northern Hemisphere ACE seems possibly to be falling off somewhat from a peak in the mid 1990s.

Tom O
February 23, 2015 6:42 am

I liked this one line –
“Cyclone and Tornado intensity seem to me to be a source of embarrassment for climate modellers.”
Actually, modeling weather of any sort seems to be an embarrassment to climate modelers.

February 23, 2015 7:19 am

In 1978 Cyclone Alby tracked down down the West Australian coast before doing a left turn east around Cape Leeuwin and disappearing off towards Tasmania. It caused a bit of mayhem but at the time it was regarded as just one of those things that happens every now and then, not as an example of the tropics extending southwards.

February 23, 2015 5:38 pm

Let’s put an idiot(ic claim) to rest…
From “http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cyclones.cgi”
The link provides tropical cyclone track maps dating back to 1906 when information available on such phenomena was rather incomplete, so given the frequency of noted and recorded cyclones at that early stage, one could reasonably imagine that there was significantly more activity. However, we do not even need to know what that was, since the recorded activity is already very substantial in terms of numbers of cyclones and their very deep south termination points (where the initially very deep low pressure system has become adequately subdued to no longer be considered of significance). Even though the destructive part of the paths of these cyclones will generally be further north, one would necessarily be both ignorant and credulous to claim that destructive cyclones did not reach significantly higher southern latitudes than those of recent times.
Linked here are some example track maps showing historical data for cyclone tracks (from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website)… move the mouse cursor over any given track on the map that appears and the name and date of the cyclone will appear…
1906 to 2007 http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cyclones.cgi?region=aus&syear=1906&eyear=2006&loc=0
1906 to 1956 http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cyclones.cgi?region=aus&syear=1906&eyear=1955&loc=0
1957 to 1987 http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cyclones.cgi?region=aus&syear=1957&eyear=1986&loc=0
1988 to 2007 http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cyclones.cgi?region=aus&syear=1988&eyear=2006&loc=0
The City Morning Herald (as with most media outlets, especially television stations) appears to be largely populated by morons who are unable to pronounce many simple, common English words correctly, such as “probably” (they say, “problee”), “regularly” (they say, “reguly” or “reglee”), “particularly” (they say, “particuly”), and so forth, which appears to be a common trait amongst young, or ignorant, or both young and ignorant, Australian “journalists” (to coin a word, “opinionists”). Most, these days, seem to have the language skills of a dead jellyfish. It is no surprise that they are so arrogantly self-righteous and simultaneously stupidly gullible as they frequently show themselves to be. People who already “know everything” are naturally not open to learning anything. Frankly, I cannot stand to read of or listen to such waffle twaddlers any longer. Their idea of “raising the game” is by lowering the bar, again and again and again.

February 27, 2015 3:57 am

The author of the article is none other than Peter Hannam, currently the biggest climate hysteric in Australia’s print media. Say no more.

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