New book: ‘Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed On Global Warming ‘

By Dr. Roy Spencer.

Partly in response to the crazy claims of the usual global warming experts (Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, Mark Ruffalo, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pope Francis), I decided to write another Kindle e-book. This one is entitled, Inevitable Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed On Global Warming.


In it I review the many fascinating examples of major hurricane landfalls in the United States, even going back to colonial times.

For example, two major hurricane strikes endured by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1635 and in 1675, have yet to be rivaled in more modern times. Major hurricane Maria, now approaching Dominica and Guadeloupe, is probably no match for the Great Hurricane of 1780 in the Caribbean, which had estimated winds of 200 mph and killed 20,000 people.

I also address the reasons why Hurricane Harvey and its flooding cannot be blamed on climate change. Regarding Hurricane Irma which recently terrorized Florida, you might be surprised to learn that it is consistent with a downward trend in both the number and intensity of landfalling major Florida hurricanes:

But what has changed is the number of people and amount of infrastructure at risk along the Altantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines. Before 1900, there were virtually no people residing in Florida. Now its population exceeds 20 million. Miami was incorporated in 1896…with only 300 people. Even if there is no long term change in hurricane activity, hurricane damage will increase as coastal development increases.

I review the science of why major hurricanes in the tropical Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexcico are not limited by sea surface temperatures, which are warm enough every hurricane season to support catastrophic hurricanes.

Even the IPCC has low confidence in whether hurricanes will become more frequent or more severe in the coming decades. NOAA’s GFDL says we might see 2% to 11% increase in activity by the end of the century. Does that sound like what you should be worrying about during hurricane season if you live on the Florida coast? Maybe instead you should worry that you chose to live somewhere that will, inevitably, be hit by a hurricane sent by Mother Nature that will be catastrophic with or without the help of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The book is an easy read, with fewer than 11,000 words, and 17 illustrations. Available for Kindle on Amazon here.

The Amazon description says:

After major hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall in the United States in 2017, there were renewed calls to do something about global warming. The popular perception that landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. are becoming more frequent or more severe, however, is shown to be incorrect. History has demonstrated that major hurricanes, sometimes arriving in pairs, have been part of Atlantic and Gulf coastal life for centuries. Even lake bottom sediments in Texas and Florida reveal more catastrophic hurricane landfalls 1,000 to 2,000 years ago than have happened more recently. Over the last 150 years, the number of major hurricanes hitting Texas has been the same when Gulf of Mexico water temperatures were below normal as when they were above normal. Harvey’s record-setting rainfall totals were due to its slow movement, which cannot be traced to global warming (August 2017 was quite cool over most of the U.S.). Major hurricane strikes in Florida since 1900 have, if anything, become somewhat less frequent and less severe. What has changed, though, is coastal development. The Miami – Fort Lauderdale metroplex now has a population of over 6 million, whereas a little over 100 years ago it was nearly zero. As a result, our vulnerability to major hurricane strikes has increased dramatically. Even with no change in hurricane activity, hurricane damages will continue to increase along with wealth and infrastructure in coastal areas. It is only a matter of time before our first trillion-dollar hurricane catastrophe occurs, and it will happen with our without carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.


95 thoughts on “New book: ‘Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed On Global Warming ‘

    • If we WEREN’T having an active hurricane season, it would be hard to get CAGW into the headlines at all these days.

    • It is one of these ‘spot the difference’ tests. One hurricane has been misplaced in one of the graphs. If you can’t find it then you are an skeptic that doesn’t believe what you are told.

    • I get it now.

      But no one else will be able to test his or her commitment to skepticism and powers of observation, since we’re now down to just one graph.

    • Tyson, is a ranter and stupid too. He says we are climate deniers (Name calling) and stupid statements like this one,

      ““If you’re in denial of global warming, you’re in denial of objective scientific truths,” he continued. “That’s not a political stance, that’s an ignorant stance.”

      Not it is YOU who is irrational and Illogical too,you want to shut down debate,force political rules on everyone,call people names for the gall of having freedom to think differently from you.

      This dude actually got Physics degree?

      He is a TERRIBLE at science arguments,since he doesn’t even make a coherent case at all. It is SOOOOOOOO easy to do some basic research on the topic.Dr. Spenser had no trouble doing that with his latest book.

      Go away Neil,since you make a fool of yourself with your idiotic attacks.

      • I especially found this comment irksome, “It is truth, whether or not you believe in it,”
        Um….NO. its truth is it actually occurs or exists. Belief has no effect on its existence or not.
        I do not believe in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny nor the tooth fairy, does that mean that they still exist? Could exist?

      • This is where alarmists play games with language: The earth has warmed a bit since the end of the Little Ice Age. No argument there by any true skeptic. But skeptics deny CAGW has been proven, and assert that climate models supporting fear-mongering have been proven inaccurate. Alarmists ignore those positions, and skip to “denying science and warming.”

        Only the extreme alarmists and political schemers are out there now. Real scientists observe reality and keep their heads down. Current global warming studies are hedging all over the place. Of late, only Griffie and a few other dingbats are pushing the “Arctic Ice Death Spiral” meme anymore.

    • Shame on Tyson! You cannot equate the difficulty of determining when the next solar eclipse will be with the problem of figuring out the causes of climate change. If climate change were that easy, we would have figured it out several thousand years ago. He is not and will not destroy my faith in science. He certainly has destroyed my opinion of his scientific integrity, if he ever had any.

    • Thanks Sixto,
      From the article that you linked to, a quote from Neil Tyson:

      “Odd. No one is in denial of America’s Aug 21 total solar eclipse. Like Climate Change, methods & tools of science predict it.”

      Sure. We have all the right information/mathematical equations to plug into our climate models, with all the right assumptions to represent the atmosphere well enough to project with skill for the next 100 years………..just like our solar eclipses.

      We got the last 20 years wrong. The models were too warm for instance. When that happens, a scientist does not increase confidence in the models and ignore observations, they adjust.

      The planet is massively greening up and CO2 is greatly contributing to record crop yields and world food production.

      He is legitimately concerned about cities along the coasts. Maybe the warming will eventually result in sea levels accelerating higher than they have been. It has been odd and a surprise to me that sea levels are not increasing at a greater rate.
      When things are not as bad as you thought they would be, you have more to learn about how the planet is responding to increasing CO2.

      15 years ago, I was pretty sure that we would have a stronger trend in increasing hurricanes…………especially after the record season of 2005.
      Doing nothing and just taking observations since then, suggests that assumption was at the very least, premature.

      Being wrong about climate projections is not the basis for confidence in projections to base trillion dollar policies to address them on………..even if the risk of doing nothing is great.

      We know that sea levels are increasing at the rate of an inch/year. Coastal cities should be taking measures for at least that amount of increase going forward.

      With regards to hurricanes…………assume that they will be based on the same random weather patterns that has always determined their fate in the past.

      The idea of us burning fossil fuels having much to do with Harvey and Irma, as sensationalized recently, means that the above statements will also have little to do with how climate science going forward is applied.

      • Mike,

        “We know that sea levels are increasing at the rate of an inch/year.” ?? I thought satellites show 3.1mm/year. That would be closer to one eighth of an inch/year. Have I got it wrong?

  1. Ahhr! Ahhr! Ahhr!… But the demise of pirates of the Caribean Caribbean can clearly be blamed on Gorebal Warming…

    Or did the Gorebal Warming wipe out the pirates?

    (September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day.)

  2. Thank you so much for writing these books.
    I was wondering, has anyone actually gone through the somewhat meaningless calculation of how much AGW could contribute to a hurricane. It would be nice to say, “yes they should be getting stronger, those winds are now two miles an hour faster and the storm surge 1/8 of an inch higher” . And those flights to London are getting longer because of continental drift.

      • Dave, BAU is typically understood as AR4 scenarios A2 or A1B. That is something between RCP 4.5 and RCP6. RCP8.5 is a ridiculous scare scenario thatbwarmunists sometimes pretend is BAU when it is actually ‘impossible’. Don’t know what the NOAA GFDL reference frame was.

      • Thanks, Rud. I asked because AR5 RCP 8.5 is typically used as business-as-usual in alarmist studies.

        It is interesting that AR4 scenarios would still be referenced in current studies. It is my understanding that CMIP3 models had some real problems, especially with polar sea ice. That CMIP5 models exacerbated other metrics’ problems trying to “fix ice.”

      • Dave, IMO the shift from IPCC scenarios up through AR4 to RCPs in AR5 was done deliberately to obscure the AR4 CMIP3 model fails concerning the pause. I took some pains to reconstruct AR4/AR5 comparables in essay Hiding the Hiatus (criticizing AR5 shenanigans). Which is why I knew the ‘answer’ to your question without any research. Just opened my ebook to that essay and its footnotes to make sure my memory was reliable before commenting.

      • Models say 2 to 11% gain in intensity globally averaged and 6 to 34% fewer hurricanes by 2100. Also 20% gain in total rainfall from tropical cyclones in a 100km radius around the eye of the storm. All model projections are for “globally averaged” measures for all 7 basins. There are no basin by basin measures. One severe tc season in one basin contains no information in terms of these projections. Also models work on the basis that emissions cause sst to warm and warming sst drives these “future climate scenarios”. But there is no empirical evidence that sst warming is related to emissions.

    • “Thank you so much for writing these books.”

      Thanks from me, too, Roy. This is just what is needed to counter the Hurricane hyperbole of the Alarmists: FACTS!

  3. Maybe instead you should worry that you chose to live somewhere that will, inevitably, be hit by a….

    ice storm
    straight line winds
    heat wave
    cyclonic storm
    hit and run
    …and asteroid

    I’m sick and tired of all this ragging on people that live on the coast…for one thing…where the h3ll do you think your seafood comes from?…..there is no place you can live on this planet where you are safe…get over it

    • (L)atitude,
      You left off a plague of locusts on your house and a cold spell that will kill the citrus trees. Also, rockfalls, dust and sand storms, and red tides. Earth is such an interesting place!

      • ROTFL….Clyde don’t give my name away…most people don’t catch it

        200 miles inland is the coast to most hurricanes…no one 200 miles inland thinks they live on the beach!

      • Clyde, not fair. (Sarc) i expressly referenced locust plagues as a peer reviewed climate disaster in essay Extreme Extremes. With a picture, even. Leave my Florida Keys buddy Latitude alone. We both survived Irma and do not need a plague of locusts just now.

      • He also left off “Blizzards”. And even snow!

        Hmmm….a CAGWer said that our children won’t know what snow is.


        Maybe Latitude is a closet Warmist!

      • Blizzards.
        Latitude, You are right and I was wrong.
        I admit it.
        (Guess they’ll never let me join The Union of Concerned Scientist now.8-(

    • Mother Nature (or Gaia if you prefer) is not generally the benevolent nurturer of life that the eco-nuts would like to believe. She is also a sociopathic serial mass murderer. We humans survive and thrive in spite of nature’s more or less constant attempts to kill us – largely because we have learned to harness the energy and natural resources available to protect ourselves.

    • I suggest subdividing fire into
      House and building fires (eg Grenfell building in London)

      Bushfires (wildfires in US bushfires in Oz )
      can be quite destructive of property and life

  4. “Partly in response to the crazy claims of the usual global warming experts (Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, Mark Ruffalo, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pope Francis)”…

    Leonardo will be plenty miffed at not being included. Expect a late night visit from him in his private jet.

  5. I have a hypothetical question about an extreme case. Suppose that the sea surface temperature (SST) in the arctic was the same as that at the equator and that at the equator was ten degrees warmer than it is now.
    1 – Would the Hadley, Ferrel, and Arctic cells shut down because of no heat difference between the equator and poles?
    2 – Given that there would be no place for the heat to go except straight up, could there be large scale weather systems or would we just get chaotic convection?

    We are told that under CAGW the arctic would warm faster than the equator. That should mean less net heat flow to the arctic and presumably less energy to go into storms on that account. On the other hand, convection would still move heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere. If that increased would it lead to more storms? Which case would predominate?

    • A similar system prevailed during the Cretaceous, when Earth was largely ice-free. Its climate was equable, ie with little variation from the equator toward the poles. Although it got cold in the Arctic and Antarctic during the long winter night, ice sheets and extensive sea ice didn’t form. The early Cenozoic was also equable.

      Even the Oligocene, Miocene and Pliocene Epochs were also more equable than now, despite the Antarctic ice sheets. The Arctic Ocean was ringed by boreal forest rather than tundra. The Arctic as we know it is a geologically recent phenomenon, its distinctive flora and fauna having evolved just in the past 2.5 million years or so.

      • Mid-Cretaceous Arctic, with monkey puzzle tree forests (now found in Chile), and a climate similar to modern Britain’s:

        Then, later in the Cretaceous, as flowering plants spread, the monkey puzzle forests were replaced with magnolia-like trees.

        That’s equable!

    • CB, interesting questions. I had some of this discussion with Prof. Emeritus Richard Lindzen at the MIT faculty club over lunch in 2012 just before he retired, when he kindly spent a day critiquing The Arts of Truth before publication. (Asked him to review the climate chapter, he came back hammering the whole book– 6 months of invaluable rewrite resulted). His views: polar amplification should be real, because reduces temperature gradients. Challenged me to explain to him why (I passed). Mostly ocean rather than atmosphere mediated: heat flows from hot to cold by laws of thermodynamics. Polar amplification should reduce weather extremes like hurricanes, because they are driven thermodynamically only by temperature differences. ( He has made this observation several times elsewhere). He thought Hadley might expand, and Ferrel was a bit uncertain so might disappear. (His view. If there is a polar vortex ( large meridional jet stream) Polar cell might then expand meridionally– so where is the Ferrel cell left? . We did not go farther, as he had also challenged me prior to lunch on my Svalbard example and we segued to plate tectonics. Quite the memorable day, that was.

      • Rud, I have a thought (not educated) exercise related to polar amplification: Compared to the rest of the globe, Arctic plus Antarctic land, oceans and ice (and atmosphere) areas (and volumes) are very small. A large portion of the extra energy raising global temperatures is shoved into the poles. On an average basis, polar temperatures must then rise faster. This is very rough, but I don’t have much interest in developing the idea.

  6. I’m relieved there are men not as weary as I am with all the damning evidence presented calmly and accurately and then ignored or dismissed entirely

  7. Random variation featuring weather extremes has always dominated.

    The decade that probably featured the most extreme weather on this planet was the 1930’s. Most of us know the history of the long lived Dust Bowl in the US Plains, to at times into the Midwest. There are still more standing state temperature record highs from the 1930’s than from any other decade.

    With regards to tropical storms, in 1933, there were 21 of them……that we knew of. Without satellites or even hurricane hunter surveillance planes, undoubtedly there would have been several that never were detected.

    Also, note the years of these extreme precipitation events below……….all prior to 1983.

    • Mike there is evidence that the 1930’s were extreme across the whole planet. In my part of New Zealand the hottest 2 summers in the nearly 90 year record were in the 1930’s.The winters were also among the coldest on record.

      1935 held the record as the wettest year for just over 70 years, but at the same tie it still holds the record for the sunniest year as well! When I looked at the data for individual months it appears that when it was wet it was very wet & cloudy. When it was sunny it was very much so and dry. No wonder older people are wondering what all the fuss is about when people these days talk of ‘extreme’ weather.

  8. I have a theory (I’ll call it settled science) that the street lights’ going on causes nightfall. I’m going to do a study and see if I can get some government grant money.

    LOCATION…16.8N 64.0W

    • Intelligent design is even less scientific than CACA. That Dr. Spencer’s religious beliefs include creationism doesn’t mean that he can’t be a good atmospheric scientist. When it comes to “climate change”, the religious fundamentalist is Mann, not Spencer.

      • “Climate Change”. “Evolution”.
        Both terms, as commonly used, imply a definition but don’t really define the terms.
        Both are true, to a point.
        Go beyond that point and we’re not talking science and the scientific method anymore.

      • It is clear that Dr. Spencer knows the difference between faith and science. Pity that more can’t be like him.

  10. You are a veritable book making machine, Roy. I guess spending most of a lifetime in climate science you don’t have to reach very far for appropriate graphics, data and explanations. But you are also a very eclectic author with books on an impressive range of subjects.

    You, Christy, Watts, McIntyre, and a relatively small number of people have made an enormous contribution to mankind,not only in your science, but in preserving freedom from the elite governance Philistines. Done on shoestrings against multitrillion dollar financing taken from those who can I’ll afford it. No wonder these mean-hearted idеолоgцеs can’t believe you guys aren’t getting billions from oil companies. Bravo for taking this on for all of us.

    It also turns me to thinking why what these misanthropes do costs so much. The Manhattan Project even in today’s dollars is chump change. Shukla apparently tapped the tax paper for six million and didn’t deliver.

  11. Roy, thanks for doing what needs to be done. You are a real hero to those who want to truly understand.

    We chatted at a CATO event a few years ago. You are getting even better with time.

  12. I did my Ph.D. dissertation on the energetics of incipient tropical cyclones, have published peer-reviewed research on monitoring the intensity of hurricanes, have designed and flown a NASA high-altitude research instrument to study tropical rain systems, am the principal investigator on a satellite instrument that was used to monitor sea surface temperatures and hurricanes, and have given presentations at both the National Hurricane Center in Florida and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii. I know a little about the subject.

    Just perfect!

    Roy I will buy any ebook you choose to publish.

    • WHAT?!?! Were is the consensus, Mark? You can’t be a true scientist in this post-truth environment. Have they come to get back their degree you falsely earned?

  13. Whilst Jennifer Lawrence is still very easy on the eye, her recent global-warming interview suggested to me that she might want to start considering cutting down on her carbon input.

  14. Also, Roy, I don’t think that posting any kind of a ‘statistical’ line through data with wind-speed on the y-axis and year on the x-axis is scientifically meaningful. The haters are gonna hate anyway, but this helps them. The data is good enough without the line. Small things, but we’re trying to be better than them.

    • Camile didn’t go into Florida (the chart was for only Florida land falling hurricanes). Camile crossed Cuba, as I recall, then went into Mississippi.

      • Doh!
        Sorry. Missed the obvious, as well as my spelling…
        Camille, of course, would not be on a Florida storm list…..

  15. I think the data shown in the graph are all over the place and I see no trend in it. But it shows that there is no rise or decline. thank you for the books!

  16. Once again, I am clapping loudly here. I do not always agree with the articles on this website but this is one case where you hit the nail on the head.
    A few big storms that are caused by natural conditions (key term there being natural) getting together in just the right/wrong ways to cause several large storms does not point to an excessive problem nor a pattern for the future.

  17. I have already posted this in another thread, but I do believe this also belongs here because it provides further scientific evidence that hurricanes can’t be blamed on global warming.

    “A key remote factor is SST variability in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Positive Pacific SST anomalies associated with warm-phase ENSO (El Niño) have been linked to increased ∣Vz ∣ over the MDR, and conversely for cool-phase ENSO (La Niña) (15, 20,30). Another remote factor that has been linked to interannual and multidecadal variability in Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity is rainfall variability over the western Sahel (2, 31), with positive rainfall anomalies associated with reduced ∣Vz ∣ over the MDR (15).”

    Therefore the lack of hurricanes during the last 12 years before recently, have likely been caused by numerous El Ninos over recent years.

    “Contrast of U.S. East Coast major hurricane landfalls between colder (A) and warmer (B) values of the Atlantic multidecadal mode. The solid red lines indicate where the storms were at major hurricane intensity. The years are like those in (44) except that the first four warmer years (1899–1902) are not included to make the number of colder and warmer years similar. Colder years (47 years) include 1903–1925 and 1971–1994. Warmer years (51 years) include 1926–1970 and 1995–2000.”

    A and B are referring to the AMO and when the AMO was positive (warmer) it had caused more hurricanes.

    “For almost every measure of tropical cyclone activity, the differences between the warm and cold phases of the mode are statistically significant (34, 44). The single exception is the number of U.S. Gulf Coast landfalling major hurricanes. This is because the Gulf of Mexico activity does not have a significant relationship with ∣Vz ∣ fluctuations in the MDR (11, 12, 15) or to the multidecadal North Atlantic SST fluctuations (Fig. 2A). The greatest differences (ratios) are for major hurricanes, hurricane days, U.S. East Coast major hurricane landfalls, and especially Caribbean hurricanes and U.S. damage.”

    Recent weeks the AMO is positive and the ENSO with NINO 3.4 is negative, hence ideal conditions for hurricanes during the peak season. The Gulf of Mexico has no significant relationship with US landfall major hurricanes. This can be predicted without AGW / global warming at all.

    Almost 50/50 between warm and cool SST’s for landfall hurricanes.

  18. HELP with the book. I am reading the book, not to “refute” AGW believers (I never argue about religion), but to understand more about hurricanes. I find the explanation of how they form in this book to be very difficult to follow. Read the description of how they form and see if you agree (Location 152). Could somebody point me to a good resource that explains how they form and once formed how they work?

Comments are closed.