Climate Alarmists Try To Redefine What A Hurricane Is So We'll Have More Of Them

Hurricane Joaquin as a category 4 storm in October 2015

This op-ed from IBD points out what we have been saying for years, that even though there is no trend in hurricane frequency of intensity, alarmists like Mashable’s Andrew Freedman are trying to get the definition of a hurricane redefined, so that the trend will become a positive one. Recall that hateful science blogger Greg Laden asked Should There be a Category 6 for Hurricanes? after super typhoon Haiyan hit in 2013, something that ABC news opined had “already happened” without one shred of evidence to back up that opinion for a Category 6 storm. They also note:

Only three Category 5s have come ashore in the United States in the past century — the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, Camille in 1969 and Andrew in 1992.

But because of man-made global warming, most hurricane scientists say now we will probably be getting Category 4 and 5 hurricanes more frequently in the coming decades.

But, that hasn’t happened so far, there is no trend for all hurricanes or tropical storms since 1970, if anything, there is a slight downward trend:


While there is a slight upward trend in Major hurricanes of 96 knots or greater (Cat 3,4,5 on bottom of graph below) some of the may have to do with better reporting on wind speeds as satellite data has now come into play for determining windspeed, something that wasn’t around in 1970:


Add to that, 30 peer reviewed studies show no connection between climate change and hurricanes

Warming Alarmists Redefine What A Hurricane Is So We’ll Have More Of Them

By Kerry Jackson, Investors Business Daily

Whether they admit it out loud or not, many global warming alarmists want more destructive weather events to validate their assumptions. But what happens when they can’t get their “dirty weather,” as Al Gore calls it? Then they’ll just have define down what a disaster is.

Eleven years ago, Gore swore that “the science is extremely clear now.” Global warming was “magnifying” the “destructive power” of the “average hurricane,” he said. Man’s impact on the environment “makes the duration, as well as the intensity of the hurricane, stronger.”

The weather refused to cooperate with Gore and the U.S. went 11 years without a hurricane making landfall. But Hurricane Matthew renewed the alarmists’ faith in their own nonsense. Acting is if 11 days rather than 11 years had passed, Gore said last week that in Hurricane Matthew, “Mother Nature is giving us a very clear and powerful message.” From the same stage in Florida, Hillary Clinton said “Hurricane Matthew was likely more destructive because of climate change.” The Washington Post, ever dutiful to the man-made global warming narrative, asked climate scientist Michael Mann (whose hockey stick chart supposedly proves human-caused warming but fails the test for some) about her statement. Naturally, he told the Post she was “absolutely” right.

Strain though they might, they’re not convincing anyone who isn’t already riding along on the climate-change disaster wagon. And they know they’re not. So the climate-hysteria movement needs a new approach. It has to in essence redefine what a hurricane is so that what had before been tropical storms and hurricanes that didn’t make landfall will in the future be catastrophic “hurricanes” or “extreme weather” events that they can point to as proof that their fever dreams are indeed reality.

After Matthew dumped more than 17 inches of rain in North Carolina, science editor Andrew Freedman wrote in Mashable that “it’s time to face the fact that the way we measure hurricanes and communicate their likely impacts is seriously flawed. ”

“We need a new hurricane intensity metric,” he said, “that more accurately reflects a storm’s potential to cause death and destruction well inland.”

The current measure is the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, which, according to the National Hurricane Center, provides “a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed.” But if the intensity of a storm is redefined by using other criteria, such as rainfall and storm surge flooding, the game changes.

“So with a new metric, warmists can declare every storm ‘unprecedented’ and a new ‘record,’ ” says Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot and producer of “Climate Hustle,” a movie that “takes a skeptical look at global warming.”

“This is all part of a financial scheme,” says Morano. “If every bad weather event can have new metrics that make them unprecedented and a record, then they will declare it fossil-fuel-‘poisoned weather.’ Warmist attorneys general will use any storm now to get money from energy companies claiming that their company made tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and droughts worse. They will use any bad weather event to shake down energy companies. That is why the extreme storm meme is so important.”

The alarmists need to redefine hurricanes especially now, since the data show that hurricane and tropical storm frequency is “flat to slightly down,” and science — yes, that “settled” field that somehow continues to discover new things — has failed to show a link between hurricanes and global warming. They still need to hide the decline, except this time the decline that must be buried is in hurricanes, not the temperature record.



Are Global Warming Alarmists Disappointed Hurricane Matthew Wasn’t Worse?

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October 18, 2016 4:19 am

Same thing happened with polio, and a success of a vaccine.

Reply to  Hlaford
October 18, 2016 4:35 am

What does this statement mean?

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 6:21 am

It means that the sharp decline in polio cases was only in part due to the vaccine introduction, but also a consequence of statistical manipulation of the reporting system.
Just to avoid being labelled antivaxxer, I found a piece in an archive that was printed waaaay before antivaxxers were a thing: – good stuff is found at mid 9th page.
Feel free to find more on the subject, but be warned that most of the materials nowadays are in fact on antivaxers sites.

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 7:31 am

While agreeing that some measurements and diagnoses were suspect in the past, I hope you are not suggesting that the Rotary International Polio Plus campaign to eradicate Polio has not been effective.

Janice Moore
Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 8:59 am

Hlaford, your example was (if your underlying facts are, indeed, accurate — I cannot attest to them, I just do not know) an apt one. However, given all the nutcase antivaxers and the misery they are promoting, I am posting this video about Dr. Jonas Salk, creator of the polio vaccine.
This man was a hero, not a monster.
Dr. Jonas Salk — 100th Birthday Commemoration
October 28, 2014

Almost as important, perhaps more, to Dr. Salk, a genuine scientist, he was freeing people from living in fear, their freedom crippled by the fear of something they did not understand (see video).
So, too, science warriors for truth like Anthony Watts, Willie Soon, Richard Lindzen, the late Bob Carter, Nick Drapela, and Murry Salby, bravely fight on, taking a bold stand to free humanity from fear (in this case, purely propaganda-based fear based on half-truths and lies about human CO2) and the pain and death around the world which directly result from the disease and poverty caused by inhumane energy policies.
Just as the data negates AGW (CO2 UP. WARMING STOPPED. No lower troposphere hot spot. Etc..)
so, too, the data negates antivaxer nonsense:

Janice Moore
Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 9:03 am

I apologize for the incorrect video being posted. Apparently, the one whose link I copied and pasted was part of a list of videos and the one above must be the first one in the series or something. Well, it does talk about Dr. Salk, at least. Sigh.

Janice Moore
Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 9:13 am

Second attempt at posting Dr. Jonas Salk 100th Birthday video:


Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 11:00 am

Hlaford, anti-vaccination protestors have been around since vaccination was a thing. Look up anything historical about “Bovine syphilis”, which was a disease that was supposedly caused by cowpox vaccination. Louis Pasteur fought them his whole life, and indeed, his final trial for anthrax vaccines on sheep was so public that his detractors as well as newspaper reporters were physically on the farm watching him inject sheep with the deadly disease.

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 11:53 am

Gee, commenting on a vaccine was an obvious mistake. It was not my intention to troll this topic, and I apologise to stir too much attention. Perhaps a moderator could delete it. Far too many people start foaming about the subject. It is no loss. But heck…
@benofhouston, I had no idea the anti vaccine was a thing before. Thanks.
I worked for UNICEF around 1997, and big thing back then was a promise that polio was about to be eradicated by year 2000. Guess that prediction was based on bad statistics and a model.
I’m not saying vaccines don’t work, but instead I say there is no point fooling ourselves by muddying data, or moving goalposts midgame.

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 12:03 pm

Gee, commenting on a vaccine was an obvious mistake. It was not my intention to troll this topic, and I apologise to stir too much attention. Perhaps a moderator could delete it. Far too many people start foaming about the subject. It is no loss. But heck…
@benofhouston, I had no idea the anti vaccine was a thing before. Thanks.
I worked for UNICEF around 1997, and big thing back then was a promise that polio was about to be eradicated by year 2000. 17 years in, and it is not eradicated yet. Guess that prediction was based on bad statistics and a model.
I’m not saying vaccines don’t work, but instead I say there is no point fooling ourselves by muddying data, or moving goalposts midgame.

Janice Moore
Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 12:11 pm

Dear Hlaford,
You apparently misunderstood my comment (not clear in my writing, no doubt). I was SUPPORTING you (so far as I could, given that I am ignorant of the facts you know of). I did not think that YOU were trolling. I was anticipating the wild eyed antivax people and cutting them off at the pass, so to speak.
I was GLAD for the opportunity to refute them AND to promote genuine science.
And others above were affirming you, too.
Take care,

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 1:58 pm

Hi Hlaford,
Apology accepted – misunderstandings happen
Just to be clear, though, the target of no Polio by 2000 was set in 1984 when the Rotary Polio Plus campaign started.
In 1980 there were 1000 cases of Polio diagnosed every day worldwide.
In 2015 there were less than 75 cases diagnosed THAT YEAR. There are now just 2 places where wild Polio is found: in N. Nigeria and a small area on the Afghan/Pakistan border.
So although the campaign target has slipped, the objective is now very close.

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 3:45 pm

I vehemently condemn blind faith in a label; vaccine. I also condemn blind faith in pharmaceutical manufacturers/merchants. To me, you guys are just being gullible.

Reply to  ECB
October 18, 2016 7:45 pm

Don’t feel bad, Hlaford. We are just exceptionally hard on any hint of anti-vaccine discussion to avoid any hint of anti-science from our detractors.
And about polio, if I recall the discussions from back when I wanted to be a doctor, mostly it was just lack of funding. We could have eradicated it years ago with the amount we waste on climate projects that accomplish nothing, even by their own parameters. That’s the real tragedy. The lost opportunities due to all this waste.

Reply to  ECB
October 19, 2016 3:04 pm

Practicing blind faith in a freaking label, is about as anti-science as anything I can imagine, Hlaford.
If I said questioning the universal efficacy and safety of all prescription drugs, rendered one anti-science, perhaps you could see this matter as I do.

Reply to  ECB
October 19, 2016 3:19 pm

PS ~ Indeed, I believe it is the very success of propaganda campaigns like the one that rendered it supposedly anti-scientific by default, to question the safety and effectiveness of anything labelled ‘vaccine’, which emboldened the CAGW pushers to attempt the same sort of paint all skeptics as unscientific monsters propaganda campaign.

Bryan A
Reply to  ECB
October 19, 2016 3:32 pm

As is so often the case, it is only the Anti-Vax croud that is placing their children in harm’s way. When one of their children come in contact with an incalculable childhood disease, it will spread like wildfire amongst their flock…Birds of a feather and all. The only potential collateral damage would be to those, like myself, that are allergic to the associated inoculations and are therefore susceptible to the diseases.
My daughter has had all of hers though so I have no worries. Should there be a sudden measles outbreak, she is protected, tis most unfortunate for the Anti-Vaxers though that they have left their children unprotected.

Reply to  ECB
October 19, 2016 4:34 pm

Hlaford October 18, 2016 at 11:53 am
If there is a “thing” there will be an “anti-thing.” Some are going to fear “things” needlessly. Some will object simply because the “thing” is “unnatural.” Some will see two simultaneous events – the “thing” and something deleterious – and see a causal link – mistaking weak apparent correlation for causality. Some, a very, very few, will actually experience a poor outcome. Lawyers and those not trained in critical thinking will stampede to such causes brandishing the “precautionary principle” as if it actually made sense and their reasoning was logical. The lawyers at least are motivated by profit. But which “precaution” is the better? Should we protect the public through vaccination -there is no longer any known human incidence of smallpox (though I have actually heard individuals describe the “extinction” of smallpox as an “atrocity” perpetrated on nature). Or, shall we, on the off chance that some individual will respond poorly to a vaccine, encourage the fearful to make choices for the rest of us?
At the very least we should be able to accept vaccinations if we want. And let evolution take care of the others.

Reply to  ECB
October 20, 2016 2:15 pm

It is precisely as logical to say that because some drugs save lives then all drugs are good (for infants too), as it is to say the same thing about vaccines, I suggest. There’s no magic at all in the label, I say . .

Reply to  ECB
October 20, 2016 2:54 pm

I so hope this stops here.
The discussion touched parallels with climate, and – yes, there are plenty.
The most obvious one is the idea of incredible improvement of life after vaccination, (or CO2 taxation) while in fact there are only a few selected diseases, of many, that you can avoid with vaccines (and less so with CO2 mitigation). And in vast majority of cases you’d not drop dead if you don’t get vaccinated. None of real killer diseases have vaccines, say AIDS, TB, or malaria, so the idea of saving lives is mostly misleading.
I’m not a spring chicken, and I had most of the diseases nowadays children are vaccinated for. Guess there are more people around that can also attest to the discomfort of contracting, say, mumps, as I can. But also to attest how insignificant is the improvement of quality of life without mumps. Honestly, it was a bit more than a “meh”. Apart from very odd feeling, mumps was not much of a disease.
So if I want to draw a parallel to climate “science”, the most obvious one is exaggeration of catastrophe if we do not do something. The marketing is very much the same. Same tactics, everything.
The main difference would be that, although mostly pointless, vaccines actually work. CO2 does not.

Reply to  ECB
October 21, 2016 12:42 pm

It is frightening to see people worship a freaking word . .

Reply to  Hlaford
October 18, 2016 4:38 am

Changing or adding another intensity category to hurricanes will not change the hurricanes that have already occurred. If a new category 6 is invoked, historical hurricanes will also have their category changed. So nothing changes.
This is pure madness.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Hans
October 18, 2016 6:38 am

Exactly. It will accomplish nothing. Women may be flattered by buying a size “8,” but, they know from their mirror and the scale (iwo: data) it is really the old size 10. RBI’s with wooden bats are not weighted the same as those with aluminum and so on.
But — hey! On the other hand, GO FOR IT, Climate Hu$tler$. Your bumbling attempts to fool the public are only putting a very bright spotlight on you
and for a rat,
that is not a good thing. hahahahah

Reply to  Hans
October 18, 2016 12:01 pm

Hans, if you set the rules by which things are graded, you can adjust your variables to get the trend you want. This goes especially true if you create a metric that wasn’t measured in the 70s, but you can estimate it, and it will always go smack where it should go.
It’s a variant of the sharpshooter fallacy, and it happens easily enough subconsciously. It’s very easy to do deliberately. This is why proper experimentation defines it’s goals before you start collecting data.

Reply to  Hans
October 21, 2016 12:28 am

After revisiting this topic, yes, the goal achieved by this is precisely a Simpson’s paradox.

Reply to  Hlaford
October 18, 2016 6:24 am

Some people will always see, only what they want to see.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Hlaford
October 19, 2016 7:30 am

The vaccine worked. I remember polio and I remember when it abruptly stopped. Probably the controversy arose fro.m the inability of US labs to successfully produce the vacs. Connaught labs in Canada (famous for producing Banting’s insulin) solved the problem and Salk vaccine was then available.

Reply to  Hlaford
October 20, 2016 3:52 am

Wow. It’s the pro-vaccine comments here that sound like the “wild-eyed” global warming alarmists going on the attack to “[cut debate] off at the pass, so to speak.” A picture of children in what . . . an iron lung, contrasted with a picture of children playing . . . how perfectly illustrative of the warministas’ using “the children” to guilt people into following along.

Chris Schoneveld
October 18, 2016 4:30 am

Even the alarmists wouldn’t claim that the path that hurricanes follow has anything do with CO2. So why this distinction between hurricanes that make landfall and those that don’t We should just look at the frequency and strength of all hurricanes irrespective of the path they happen to have taken.

Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
October 18, 2016 5:30 am

3 reason (among others)
* we have records only for hurricanes that made landfall
* landfall make a hell of a difference for actual humans. Except a few sailors, we dont give a F. about hurricane in open sea
* last but not least : landfall make a big difference for hurricane, too. A hurricane is born at sea and dies on land

Chris Schoneveld
Reply to  paqyfelyc
October 18, 2016 6:52 am

I understand all that but its relevance (landfall or not) vis a vis global warming is moot. Even if one finds that there are more (or less) hurricanes that make landfall compared with the past it has no significance as long as one does not know the total hurricane count.

Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
October 18, 2016 12:05 pm

– if you want to switch to all hurricanes, you can only count the data from the Satellite age since many fish storms were never reported before that.

Reply to  paqyfelyc
October 18, 2016 11:25 am

I understand your point, but “hurricane that make landfall” remains an interesting subspecie of hurricane that DO matter of its own, far more than “hurricane whether making landfall or not”.
And “number of hurricane making landfall” or “average duration between landfall” are good metrics for hurricanes even if you don’t know the total hurricane count. I even find them better metrics that the total hurricane count : the number of landfall depends not only on the number of hurricane, but also their duration (compare a long-lived hurricane that hit Haiti, Cuba and Florida, Vs 3 different short-lived hurricanes that only one of these spot each ; or even imagine a single long lasting hurricane such like Jupiter’s great red spot …).

James J Strom
Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
October 18, 2016 7:40 am

What you ask for is on this page. Some of Ryan Maue’s graphs cover all hurricanes.

Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
October 18, 2016 8:14 am

Our ability to detect and measure the strength of hurricanes that don’t make landfall is less that 60 years old (and probably 20 years when it comes to the satellite estimates of wind speed). It is meaningless to compare “global” numbers from earlier than the last few years because we just didn’t see them and certainly couldn’t measure them properly. That is why the long term comparisons are made between hurricanes which make landfall as that is the only metric for which we have data.

george e. smith
Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
October 18, 2016 9:00 am

Maybe 27%of all hurricanes make landfall. The other 73% stay out in the oceans, which is good because there is the right amount of water area to accommodate them.
I wonder why there doesn’t seem to be many hurricanes over sandy deserts ??

Reply to  george e. smith
October 18, 2016 10:19 am

Because sand doesn’t release enough energy when it evaporates.

Reply to  george e. smith
October 18, 2016 11:35 am

lol. I guess you mean “requires too much energy to evaporate”

Reply to  george e. smith
October 18, 2016 2:09 pm

You say tomato, I say tomahto.

Frederik Michiels
October 18, 2016 4:35 am

i know their new definition: we had a gentle breeze en three drops of rain and a little clap of thunder: an unprecedented tropical hurricane made landfall in Belgium europe….
sarc 🙂
lately i see a lot of attempts in trying to make things worse as they are…. A lot of people are buying this crap, that’s the worse part

October 18, 2016 4:36 am

Government did it with inflation. So I am sure it is coming soon.

October 18, 2016 4:37 am

It’s been done before. During the katrina orgasm a few years ago emanuel was unable to find a trend in the ace index for hurricanes which uses the square of velocity. So he came up with a new index, the pdi, in which he used the cube of velicity. But still no trend. So he took the moving average of the pdi and found a trend that was not statistically significant. So he took the moving average of the moving average and finally, voila, there was his trend. This paper was published in nature.
But the truth is that there is no trend in the ace index 1945-2014

October 18, 2016 4:40 am

We’re obviously getting the “wrong sort of hurricanes”!

October 18, 2016 4:44 am

Small typo in AW’s introduction: change “the” to “them” in:
“some of the may have to do with better reporting on wind speeds”

Tom Halla
October 18, 2016 4:53 am

This is the sort of thing George Orwell was referring to as far as to true believers using language in peculiar ways.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 18, 2016 4:56 am

Tom, Stop scaring me.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
October 18, 2016 3:05 pm

Yes, it is scary but it’s also true.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 18, 2016 6:36 am

Double plus ungood

Bloke down the pub
October 18, 2016 5:04 am

Much more convenient for them if they base it on a metric for which we only have recent data. That way there are no inconvenient storms from the past to get in the way of new records being set.

October 18, 2016 5:06 am

I think we ought to have a change in forecasting to incorporate how much water a storm can produce and how much/where the storm surges will be. Here in North Carolina we got devastated from the rain produced from Matthew not the wind, but it was really as dependent on the stationary front over the state that was present as the actual hurricane.
Leave the wind categories as is but it is the water that kills and causes the damage. Some warnings as to what could be expected would have helped at least in evacuations and getting property better prepared. Same thing that happened in Louisiana earlier this year.

Reply to  rbabcock
October 18, 2016 7:56 am

And the same thing happened with Irene. The non-alarming wind-speeds were played down, the alarming hurricane strength was played up, and the rainfall-damage potential was mostly ignored.

Mark from the Midwest
October 18, 2016 5:09 am

Redefinition is the cornerstone of both activists and pseudo science. Over the past 10 years: Autism is being redefined as having symptoms consistent with Autism, even though every healthy kid will, from time to time, go off in a world of their own. ADD has almost, universally, been redefined as inattentive behavior in the class room, again what healthy kid really wants to pay attention to anything in primary or secondary education.
See “Flight from Science and Reason” for all kinds of fun examples of the kind of crap that’s going on.

Steve Case
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 18, 2016 5:19 am

You just hit two of my hot buttons. I recently ran into a kid with “Autism” but he was more a spoiled brat than anything else. And we are drugging kids for ADD for the benefit of the pharmaceutical companies, tax dollars for every special ed kid the school district can generate, and teachers who want nice docile boys in their classroom. Children and their parents be damned.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Steve Case
October 18, 2016 6:42 am

“We” aren’t drugging kids. Lazy parents who don’t want to live up to their parenting responsibilities drug their kids as an excuse for their failure as parents.

October 18, 2016 5:16 am

There already is a classification for extreme weather- heavy rains and high winds over more than 100 square miles is 97% certain to cause much damage and kill one or more people. Not to belittle anyone the death of anyone, most of the deaths from high water and floods happen to people trying to walk through water more than 6 inches or so deep or drive on flooded roads.
Unfortunately for the faithful extreme weather is not increasing.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  logicalchemist
October 18, 2016 11:19 am

Had to respond to a one car accident this past summer where a beaver dam burst, then one of the “unenlightened” tried driving through about 3 inches of water, spilling over the roadway. It took his mini-van sideways about 15 feet, resting against a couple of large maple trees. FYI: the State Cops estimated that he was doing about 35mph, and the combined effect of the hydro-planing and the water flow, in the words of an esteemed State Trooper, made everything “slick as deer guts.”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 18, 2016 7:43 pm

Sue the beaver.

October 18, 2016 5:22 am

According to this article there are three conditions necessary for hurricane development:
1 – Water temperature
2 – Correct distance from the equator
3 – Wind conditions
The third condition is weak winds blowing in a uniform direction throughout the troposphere. Strong winds or winds changing direction with increasing altitude (that is, vertical wind shear) prevent hurricane development.
One would expect that global warming would increase the ocean surface temperature. So, it’s reasonable to expect that more energy would be available for hurricane formation.
On the other hand, one would also expect that the extra heat would create stronger winds. That would prevent hurricane formation.
We know that the alarmists think there should be more, stronger hurricanes. I think there’s reason to wonder if actual hurricane experts think the same thing.

Reply to  commieBob
October 18, 2016 6:08 am

Storm and hurricane are just energy transfer system between hot water and cold air above, global warming is supposed to heat atmosphere more than sea, lowering the difference, making them weaker.
So I would expect that global warming would DECREASE hurricane formation … but this cannot be said to be catastrophic.

Reply to  commieBob
October 18, 2016 8:05 am

Hurricane-impairing winds are not caused by heat, but horizontal temperature gradients. Those should decrease as the Arctic warms more than the tropics.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
October 18, 2016 8:54 am

That’s the simplified version. The Hadley cell will continue to convect, no matter what the arctic does. The gradient is between the surface where the air is heated and the upper atmosphere where the heat is radiated.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  commieBob
October 18, 2016 9:40 am

….We know that the alarmists think there should be more, stronger hurricanes. I think there’s reason to wonder if actual hurricane experts think the same thing….
They will, if they want to keep their jobs….

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  commieBob
October 18, 2016 7:43 pm

Don’t you also need dust seeding from the Sahara?

Mumbles McGuirck
October 18, 2016 5:31 am

I’m sorry to rain on this parade, but there are valid reasons for finding new metrics for defining tropical cyclones. The Saffir-Simpson scale, in use since 1971, is only pegged to the maximum sustained winds that normally only occur in the hurricane eyewall. It does not address such things as rainfall amounts, storm size, or storm surge. These are all threats in tropical cyclones and not pegged to the max winds. Many TCs of only tropical storm or tropical depression strength can dump copious amounts of rain and cause deadly flooding. Storm size is independent of peak strength. Surge is dependent on the overall wind field and the bathymetry. These need to warned about even if the TC is only a Cat 1 or tropical storm.
Adding more metrics does not necessarily change the definition of past hurricanes. This isn’t a conspiracy to alter the past, like temperature records.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 18, 2016 8:10 am

Hurricane Ike of 2008 was barely short of a Cat-3, and had an unusually large hurricane-force wind field. An unusually large area received Cat-2 winds for an unusually long time, so wind damage was typical of that of a Cat-3. The storm surge was also typical of a Cat-3. I think an update to the Saffir-Simpson scale that takes into account the size of the wind field would be an improvement.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
October 18, 2016 9:45 am

Yes, Ike had a large IKE (Integrated Kinetic Energy) field. That is why the surge was worse than what the Saffir-Simpson scale would’ve indicated. Many in the tropical cyclone community are discussing other metrics that would add to the S-S scale if not replace it. Unfortunately, senior folks at NHC are ‘stick-in-the-muds” and won’t consider changing anything.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
October 18, 2016 12:25 pm

“Almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
October 18, 2016 9:13 am

You may have a point there, Mumbles, but look at who is asking for the redefinition and why. They do not appear to be interested in advancing science or providing more preventative information to people, it is to advance the spin on CAGW.

Reply to  oeman50
October 18, 2016 11:25 am

I work for a private weather company, and we’ve had a 50-point scale for tropical systems (50% size, 50% strength) for a few years now. It works very well and helps with situations like Ike 2008.

Bruce Cobb
October 18, 2016 5:37 am

Hey, great idea. Then how about redefining what a heat wave is, what a drought is, tornadoes, etc. With any luck, people will be afraid to walk out their doors for fear of all the “extreme weather”, due, of course to us wanting to live lives of relative comfort and prosperity, instead of misery and discomfort. How selfish of us.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 18, 2016 7:15 am

Bruce, I’m sure they’ll look at redefining all of those things. You bet. Anything for the Cause. Then they wonder why people are questioning their claims AND their “solutions” – sick and tired of all these games and tax robberies.

October 18, 2016 7:27 am

I think that he is partly right. I have a grandfather, who, when I was 7 years old, told me that storms before where locally described by the rains it poured and not by the strength of the winds. This was logical because people in our hometown don’t have any way to measure wind speed but they sure can easily see the effects of flooding.
There should be 2 ways to describe a storm. 1) for potential wind damage and 2) for potential flood damage.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Pulsar
October 18, 2016 9:03 am

“There should be 2 ways to describe a storm. 1) for potential wind damage and 2) for potential flood damage.”
That seems to already be happening. Don’t think I have seen/hear many hurricane weather reports that don’t mention the expected rainfall and its distribution along with the expected size and timing of the storm surge. You always have a few idiots that consider landfall and Saffir-Simpson intensity all that the locals need to know but those characters shouldn’t be on TV in the first place.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Joe Crawford
October 18, 2016 3:23 pm

If we kept all the idiots off TV we’d all be watching empty studios.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Joe Crawford
October 19, 2016 6:23 am

Might be better than some of the programming I’ve seen lately.

October 18, 2016 8:00 am

As for “the U.S. went 11 years without a hurricane making landfall”:
What about Dolly, Gustav and Ike of 2008?
What about Irene of 2011?
What about Isaac of 2012?
What about Arthur of 2014?
And Matthew made landfall as a hurricane before the 11th anniversary of 2005’s Wilma.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
October 18, 2016 8:21 am

The claim is a CAT 3+ not making landfall in the past 11 years, not any hurricane.

Reg Nelson
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
October 18, 2016 8:47 am

It should have read: “the U.S. went 11 years without a major (> Cat 3) hurricane making landfall”

Reg Nelson
Reply to  Reg Nelson
October 18, 2016 8:48 am

s/b Cat 3 or greater.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
October 18, 2016 9:10 am

And Klipstein knew that, Mr. Nelson. He is one of the more subtle, but he is just as deceitful (or is it just befuddled? I doubt it — he is clearly very bright and well educated….) as all the rest of the members of the Climate Hu$tler auxiliary who regularly grace us with their presence here.

October 18, 2016 8:19 am

Worthwhile noting that despite the inclusion of all storms across the whole Atlantic, the NOAA are quoting only 90% of the median accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) so far this year (through the end of September).
Some of the storms they have included would not have been seen prior to satellites and the strengths quoted (and therefore the ACE) are based on the satellite calculations only for many of these with no confirmation by either flights or buoys.

October 18, 2016 8:27 am

With regard to classifications, I looked at this image from the NOAA NHC and remembered a lot of discussion over the ground speed winds measured for Hermine:
The image shows quite a long track in red (hurricane status) crossing the Florida coast and up into Georgia, yet I don’t remember seeing this supported by the wind-swath images produced by NHC at the time (these showed the wind speed dropped very quickly once Hermine reached the coast). I can’t find these images any more and I seem to remember there were a lot of posters here pointing to the buoy records and ground stations which didn’t record any hurricane force winds.
Does anyone else have the the archives from this storm to see?

Janice Moore
Reply to  Rob
October 18, 2016 9:58 am

Hi, Rob,
Good memory! Boy, I sure hope someone who has exactly what you asked for replies. Until they do, here is what I found on the WUWT Hermine (Sept., 2016) thread:
1. RAH
I have yet to see data from a single buoy which substantiates that this is a hurricane. And according to the NHC’s own definition:
“Maximum Sustained Surface Wind:
The standard measure of a tropical cyclone’s intensity. When the term is applied to a particular weather system, it refers to the highest one-minute average wind (at an elevation of 10 meters with an unobstructed exposure) associated with that weather system at a particular point in time.”
Here is the current buoy data:
The highest sustained speed shown by a buoy in the area is 53 knots which is just under 61 mph. …

(Source: )
2. Johanus
Hermine’s eye wall passed over an NDBC buoy (#42036) just before midnight GMT, and recorded a brief gust of 75mph, but sustained winds of only 50 mph or so. {image} …
(Source: )
3. Johanus
Hermine is currently making landfall near Apalachicola in the Florida panhandle. On WunderMap the highest wind seems to be 50mph, with most WU stations in the area showing considerably less. {image} …
(Source: )
(this comment continued below to prevent hitting the sp@m bin due to link ##)

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
October 18, 2016 10:09 am

{Re:} “there was a small area that experienced hurricane force winds”
The map is annotated “From advisories 1 through 21”, so I believe that the red area represents the areas forecasted to have hurricane-force winds, not actually observed or experienced.
AFAIK, there are no surface observations validating these forecasts. The off-shore buoy data would be the most likely candidates, but as pointed out previously in this post, they all show surface winds maxed out around 50mph. Buoy #42036 observed a gust of 75mph when it passed through the eye, but not recorded as a sustained wind speed, necessary to be classified as a hurricane.
At landfall, I saw one WunderMap station reporting 50mph winds. The rest were much lower.

(Source: )
5. Some weather data on Tropical Storm Hermine:

October 18, 2016 8:48 am

Has there been any analysis of wind speeds in these last few hurricanes, comparing satellite measured wind speed with wind speed at ground stations? Labeling storms is really a waste of time. Intelligent people in the path of a storm listen to forecast of rain and wind, and make plans accordingly. If the alarmists want to have more impact, they need better names with more scare potential, like Godzilla or Death Walker or Zombie or Reaper or Frankenstein….see more scary than Matthew or Hermine.

Ross King
Reply to  Glenn999
October 18, 2016 9:35 am

Used to be that “The Authorities” played-down the impact on an impending storm, presum’ly on the basis of: “Don’t Panic! Carry On!” and the greatest pablum of all: “Don’t Worry, be Happy!”
Seems to me that the reverse is now true, for two reasons I can think of:
1.The Alarmists want as many burrs under the saddle as possible to remind us all that AGW is REAL.
2. The spikier the burr the better … ditto. Therefore over-estimate severity, not under-estimate.
3. The more we get panicked, the more we get sensitized to the issue (a prime ‘Goal!’) and the better for The Cause of AGW.
4.’The Authorities’ are complicit lest their forecasts be caught *under*-estimating the severity (see Sevenoaks wind-storm fall-out).
Glen999’s comment is prescient in this context: ‘Hurricane Apocalypse’ anyone? And if we survive that by some miracle (and in best Hollywood style — hello Leo!) ‘H. Apocalypse 2’ et seq., each one hyped to be scarier than the preceding! Interspersed with ‘H.Frankenstein 2’, ‘H.Hades 4’, etc.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Ross King
October 18, 2016 4:33 pm

Governments (especially despotic) used to favour war as a device to focus support for authority through fear. I think the ongoing fiasco in the Middle East makes war a poor option. One alternative is to convince the gullible populace that they are doomed to an earthly inferno (if not an eternal one) if they fail to accept the new gospel that, remarkably, preaches salvation through government control and higher taxes.

Mike Maguire
October 18, 2016 9:07 am

“After Matthew dumped more than 17 inches of rain in North Carolina, science editor Andrew Freedman wrote in Mashable that “it’s time to face the fact that the way we measure hurricanes and communicate their likely impacts is seriously flawed. ”
“We need a new hurricane intensity metric,” he said, “that more accurately reflects a storm’s potential to cause death and destruction well inland.”
You don’t try to fix something that is not broken. The amount of rain a hurricane or tropical system produces is influenced by numerous elements. Those can be identified ahead of time and then, provide targeted outlooks for excessive rain and flash flood watches/warnings as well as verbiage that specifically addresses expectations and the ongoing dynamics……by the entities that specialize in rain or local forecasters.
If a very slow moving tropical storm with 65 mph winds produces 15 inches of rain vs a fast moving hurricane that only produces 5 inches but has 130 mph winds the stronger one is the hurricane and we categorize it by wind for relevant standards.
If we categorize it by rain, how can this possibly be standardized? What if a couple, isolated locations get 15 inches, while the region gets 5 inches average vs the region getting 10 inches but the most being 12 inches?
Each region will be different depending on its ability to withstand heavy rains. Sandy soils in Florida drain better than some places and previously saturated soils result in much more runoff and flooding than if the area had been in a drought.
Local forecasters are very familiar with their terrain and risks which are dialed into their public statements in tandem and coordination with the NHC. It should not be the job of the NHC to know each locations unique physical risks to excessive rain, wind or other elements and dial that into some new hurricane rating scale. This is the job of the locals.
Wind is wind. Pressure is pressure. These are the gold standards for measuring hurricane intensity.
Storm surges and their damage can be estimated and warned for ahead of time along with the damage based on the location and tide but each storm and location will be different.

Mike Maguire
Reply to  Mike Maguire
October 18, 2016 9:30 am

The bottom line is that Matthew caused more rain than predicted. If we had some sort flooding potential or excessive rain scale for hurricanes already in place for Matthew, it too would have underestimated the amounts of rain.
Coming up with some new, confusing scale that addresses rain just from hurricanes will not make the forecasting tools that we use now any more accurate in forecasting these events.
Rain is measured in inches(in the US). We can easily translate that in a language that people understand. Local forecasters and entities like this one: are in the better position to specialize in local amounts and effects.
Whether 12 inches of rain is coming from a stalled front or from a hurricane, we have an excellent system with specialists, national, regional and local already tuned in to that threat days ahead of time. They provide the guidance, watches, warnings and important alerting messages for the public that are needed to save lives.
The NHC assists in their communications with these above entities. We don’t need to complicate their already challenging job by incorporating some impossible to standardize new rain or flooding scale(potential) assigned to hurricanes. The NHC already makes statements about expected rain amounts, storm surges and so on but they can’t know as much as these weather predicting entities above do in the area of expertise of those entities.

tom s
Reply to  Mike Maguire
October 19, 2016 7:21 am

And the precip forecasts were pretty accurate and well advertised. What the heck does he suggest we do? Say the rain will be ‘very wet’ ? The storm was well advertised. The rainfall was well advertised and all of it disseminated well in advance.

Ross King
October 18, 2016 9:23 am

The more new metrics the Alarmists invent, the more sticks they will have to beat us.
One of them shd measure the propensity of homo-sapiens to relocate to terrains prone to natural disasters (e.g., areas affected by hurricanes, typhoons, tornados, droughts, etc.) and — topographically — to storm-surges, flooding, forest fires, etc. I think Bjorn Lomborg was ‘on’ to this by way of challenging the Alarmists’ insistence that the strongly upward graph of Insurance pay-outs was a result of AGW, ignoring massive resettlement in aforesaid disaster-prone locations.

October 18, 2016 9:45 am

How long before NASA begins revising past hurricanes to account for the “under reported” wind velocities of the previous decades?

Rhoda R
Reply to  rocketscientist
October 18, 2016 10:24 am

Please don’t give them any ideas.

October 18, 2016 11:03 am

” Michael Mann (whose hockey stick chart supposedly proves human-caused warming but fails the test for some)”
Please correct this as it has been fully debunked as fraudulent via the hugely disproportionate weighting given to faulty bristlecone pine proxy data

October 18, 2016 11:23 am

Redefinition did work well with BMI. The various categories were redefined in 1998 and instantly more people were considered overweight or obese. Current reports use scare tactics in comparing modern obesity rates to the rates before the redefinition. And now few people remember that it was redefined.

Joel Snider
October 18, 2016 12:23 pm

Guess it isn’t enough to destroy science, the economy, liberty, and hamstring the human race. Gotta destroy the language too.

Gunga Din
October 18, 2016 2:11 pm

Hmm…so lets say a hurricane, let’s call it Hurricane Hillary, by the old classification is a class 4.
If Hillary hugs the coast like Matthew did making twice as high of a storm surge and 34″ of rain then she’d become a category 6? But if she stayed away from the US (fingers crossed) then she’d remain a class 4 blowhard?
I think we’d best keep politics and hype out of what is supposed to be science. 😎

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
October 18, 2016 2:39 pm

Mixed my “category” and “class”.
Hurricane Hillary would have no “class”.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Gunga Din
October 18, 2016 4:41 pm

Hurricane Hillary hugged the mainstream but completely avoided the issues, moving left and right almost as if guided. There is still expectation of massive economic damage.

October 18, 2016 2:20 pm

..If Liberal stupidity was painful, there would be a whole lot less Liberals !

Joel Snider
Reply to  Marcus
October 19, 2016 11:39 am

Well, it’s painful to ME.

James at 48
October 18, 2016 4:41 pm

Name it and claim it!

October 19, 2016 3:22 am

I am convinced there were similar dishonest alarmist intentions behind the decision in recent years by British, Irish and European Meteorological services to start naming perfectly normal Atlantic winter gales and storms.

Gary Pearse
October 19, 2016 7:17 am

I guess few read my posts. I have warned about this in posts over the past week or so. I even suggested the Saffir-Simpson scale will be changed. After the shenanigans with sea level adjustments for glacial rebound that placed the new sea level above the actual sea level – up in the air- I began predicting this adjustment behavior when weather stubbornly refused to cooperate long enough and sceptics were pointing these things out. C. Monckton hammered greens with the pause for years and I predicted they wouldn’t tolerate this. Karlization (a term I coined here at wuwt) and poof the pause is gone we don’t even hear about it anymore.
In my recent predictions in addition to the need to change the metrics for tropical storms, I suggested the disarray in the sensors for sea ice would lead to “corrections” that would give us new low in summer ice and that ENSO is in for an overhaul. We will see it!!

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