The Washington Post’s Slander on Hurricanes and Climate Change

By James D. Agresti

The Washington Post editorial board has accused President Trump of being “complicit” in Hurricane Florence, because “he plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks” of “extreme weather,” and “he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks.” Such weather, they say, is fueled by manmade global warming that creates “unusually warm ocean water” that worsens hurricanes. The board finishes by declaring that Trump and Republicans are guilty of “reality denial” on this issue. However, their editorial is the antithesis of reality.

Trump hasn’t been in office nearly long enough for his policies to alter the earth’s greenhouse gas levels. In fact, his plan to repeal Obama’s “landmark“ climate change regulation has not yet been implemented.

Furthermore, Charles McConnell, a former assistant secretary of energy under Obama and the director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, estimated that this regulation would decrease global temperature by only 0.01 degree Celsius by 2030. Thus, to blame Trump for Hurricane Florence or any other hurricane in the past or future is absurd.

More importantly, the Post’s narrative is at odds with the scientific facts of the matter. These show that from as far back in time as reliable data extends:

· global hurricane frequency, hurricane intensity, hurricane duration, and general rainfall trends have been level.

· Atlantic hurricane frequency and intensity trends have been level.

· U.S. hurricane strikes, major hurricane strikes, and flood trends have been level.

Cyclone and Hurricane Trends

Contrary to the Post and other media outlets, cyclones and hurricanes have not become more common or intense. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in 2012: “There is low confidence in any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (i.e., intensity, frequency, duration), after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.” This also applies to hurricanes, which are tropical cyclones with winds exceeding 73 miles per hour.

Likewise, the datasets graphed below show that the global number and intensity of cyclones, hurricanes, and major hurricanes have been roughly level for the past four-to-five decades. These data were originally published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in 2011 and updated this year:

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Records of Atlantic hurricanes—which stretch back for more than a century—also show stagnant trends. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory recently assessed these data and concluded that “the historical Atlantic hurricane record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced long-term increase.”

Similarly, the IPCC reported in 2013: “No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”

In spite of all those facts, a national scientific poll commissioned by Just Facts in 2017 found that 69% of U.S. voters believe that the global “number and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms have generally increased since the 1980s,” including 90% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans. This disconnect between perception and reality accords with a mass of global warming-related misinformation spread by the press.

A common thread among much of this misinformation is a focus on local conditions, anecdotes, and short-term trends. Because the earth is vast and its climate varies widely over time and place, it is easy to paint a misleading picture by highlighting certain aspects of it.

For example, the popular narrative that global warming is causing more U.S. hurricane strikes crumbles in the face of long-term data. As detailed by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the full record of U.S. landfalling hurricanes actually shows “a slight negative trend beginning from 1900 or from the late 1800s.” Counting only major hurricanes, the trend has been generally flat for 165 years:

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Because of the timespan involved, no one could possibly know these facts from life experience, even if they had perfect memories. Yet, a 2008 survey of Virginia residents found that the most common answer people give for believing or disbelieving in global warming is their personal experience of the climate. This makes them easy marks for those who mislead by using half-truths.

Even if this data showed rising numbers of hurricanes, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory emphasizes that one cannot logically assess hurricane trends based only on those that reach land, because they are “much less common” than the full number of hurricanes that form at sea. This highlights the importance of not drawing conclusions from narrow data.

The U.S. contains only 1.9% of the world’s surface area. Yet, media outlets and global warming activists often argue that the sky is falling based on local trends and events. This is called “cherry-picking,” which is reporting only information that accords with a certain view while ignoring everything that does not. It is the equivalent of lying by omission.

The Trenberth Study

To support its claim that Hurricane Florence is “feeding off unusually warm ocean water,” the Post cites a 2018 paper in the journal Earth’s Future. Its authors studied the infamous Hurricane Harvey that flooded Houston in 2017 and concluded that “record high ocean heat values not only increased the fuel available to sustain and intensify Harvey but also increased its flooding rains on land.”

The paper was coauthored by Kevin Trenberth, whom the Post quotes to reinforce its argument. A decade ago, Trenberth, a lead author for the IPCC, grossly misrepresented the facts about global warming and hurricanes during a press conference. Consequently, Chris Landsea, a research scientist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, quit the IPCC and stated, “I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.”

Trenberth’s new paper follows that pattern and begins by stating that:

· “human-caused climate change is supercharging” hurricanes.

· the “Atlantic hurricane season in 2017 broke numerous records,” and its “accumulated cyclone energy was 225% of normal.”

· “several aspects of the 2017 season were not ‘natural.’ The first was the role of human‐induced climate change….”

This is a classic example of cherry picking, because it singles out one year from one area of the world. In contrast, the comprehensive data provided in the charts above show that global cyclone energy and frequency trends have been about level.

The authors also write that “increases in Atlantic hurricane activity in the 20th century have been attributed mainly to the increases” in sea surface temperatures, which are “primarily driven by human increases in greenhouse gas concentrations….” Once again, the IPCC and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory have found no detectable increase in Atlantic hurricane activity over the 20th century.

Moreover, the study that forms the basis of the paper does not prove what its authors claim. It merely finds that Hurricane Harvey traveled over warm ocean waters while absorbing a specific amount of heat, and this heat “likely matches” the amount of heat that it released via rainfall. That’s no surprise given that energy cannot be created or destroyed, and 10 pages into the paper, the authors admit that these findings “unsurprisingly, reflect strong energy exchanges during the hurricane.”

From that mundane result, the authors jump to the assumption that record-high ocean temperatures “likely” increased Harvey’s “size and intensity” and “contributed substantially to the flooding caused by rainfall on land.” This is irrational, because there is a significant difference between: (a) finding that a storm absorbed and released a certain amount of heat from the ocean, and (b) concluding that the storm absorbed more heat than it otherwise would have because the ocean was warmer than normal.

The authors don’t empirically justify that leap of logic. Instead, they repeatedly assert that warmer oceans create more cyclone activity. However, at the end of one paragraph, they reveal that this conclusion comes from “global modeling experiments” and “dynamically downscaled experiments.” These are computer models that predict what will happen—not what has actually happened.

Unlike those models, real-world data shows that cyclone activity has been level. The academic serial work Flood Geomorphology stresses the danger of relying on computer models instead of hard data:

True science is concerned with understanding nature no matter what the methodology. In our view, if the wrong equations are programmed because of inadequate understanding of the system, then what the computer will produce, if believed by the analyst, will constitute the opposite of science.

The authors also declare that “a warming ocean will” cause “more rainfall and flooding, which is well supported by the Harvey case.” Concrete, comprehensive data also deflates that assertion:

· A 2015 paper in the Journal of Hydrology analyzed rainfall measurements “made at nearly 1,000 stations located in 114 countries” and found “no significant global precipitation change from 1850 to present.” The authors noted that previous studies had analyzed shorter timeframes and found rainfall changes that some people had attributed to global warming, but those results were generally not statistically significant and “not entirely surprising given that precipitation varies considerably over time scales of decades.”

· A 2015 paper in the International Journal of Climatology studied extreme rainfall in England and Wales found that “contrary to previous results based on shorter periods, no significant trends of the most intense categories are found between 1931 and 2014.”

· A 2012 paper in the Hydrological Sciences Journal examined U.S. flood trends from 200 water gauges with records extending from 85 to 127 years ago. This study found “no strong empirical evidence” for increased flood magnitudes across any of the four major regions of the United States. In the Southwest, the study actually found a decrease in flooding, and in the Northeast, it found results that are “suggestive” of increased flooding but not statistically significant.

Nonetheless, Trenberth, his coauthors, and the Post’s editorial board ignore such facts while touting anecdotes, model predictions, and leaps of logic.

Storm Speeds

The Post cites one other source to support its argument, writing:

Scientists also warn that climate change may be slowing the wind currents that guide hurricanes, making storms more sluggish and, therefore, apt to linger longer over disaster zones. Tropical cyclone movement has slowed all over the planet. Harvey’s stubborn refusal to leave the Houston area was a decisive factor in its destructiveness. Florence may behave similarly.

The hyperlink in the quote above leads to an NPR article, which links to another NPR article, which names the author of a study “published Wednesday in the journal Nature.” None of these publications provide a link to the study or its title, thus ensuring that the vast majority of readers will never lay eyes on it. Except for its abstract, the paper itself is locked behind a paywall, providing another barrier to the primary source.

Three pages in, this paper reveals that it did not determine the causes of the slowdown:

The analyses presented here do not constitute a detection and attribution study because there are likely to be many factors, natural and anthropogenic [manmade], that control tropical-cyclone translation speed.

This study calculates the speeds at which tropical cyclones moved over each of their lives by using data on their positions at different points in time. The data covers the globe from 1949 to 2016, and the calculations show that their overall speed declined by 10% during this period “in which global-mean surface temperatures increased by about 0.5 °C.” The paper also says that “the slowdown varies substantially by region and by latitude, but is generally consistent with expected changes” caused by manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

Beyond the fact that the study does not determine causation, the timeframe it covers is short enough to produce illusory trends. For example, the above chart of U.S. hurricane strikes begins in 1851 and shows generally level trends. However, if the data only went back to 1941, it would seem that hurricanes and major hurricanes are trending downward:

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Furthermore, the study’s findings are at odds with data on U.S. floods. The study states “there is a substantial and significant slowing trend over land areas affected by North Atlantic tropical cyclones (20% reduction over the 68-yr period),” and this has “almost certainly increased local rainfall totals” in this region. However, the above-cited 2012 paper on U.S. flood trends found “no strong empirical evidence” for increased flood magnitudes across any of the four major regions of the United States.

Climate scientist Roy Spencer aptly summarizes the implications of this study for climate change: “But like most claims regarding global warming, the real effect is small, probably temporary, and most likely due to natural weather patterns. Any changes in hurricanes over 70 years, even if real, can easily be part of natural cycles—or incomplete data.”

Potential Harms

In addition to slandering the president of the United States, the Post’s deceptive editorial has the potential to cause serious harm in at least three ways.

First, it may spur voters to support policies that can increase hunger. For instance, a 2018 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that “by 2050, stringent climate mitigation policy, if implemented evenly across all sectors and regions, would have a greater negative impact on global hunger and food consumption than the direct impacts of climate change. The negative impacts would be most prevalent in vulnerable, low-income regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where food security problems are already acute.” Note that this study, like all studies that project such effects of government policies, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Second, it can sow fear and hopelessness, which can have debilitating effects on people. For example, the World Health Organization found that the areas surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear accident received very low doses of radiation, and local populations show “no evidence of any effect on the number of stillbirths, adverse pregnancy outcomes, delivery complications or overall health of children.” However, these people are suffering because “persistent myths and misperceptions about the threat of radiation have resulted in ‘paralyzing fatalism’ among residents of affected areas.”

Third, it could fuel violence against Republican lawmakers by falsely charging them with deaths caused by hurricanes. This is ironic, given that many news outlets recently declared that Trump was endangering the safety of journalists by calling the “fake news media” the “enemy of the people.”


James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues.

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114 thoughts on “The Washington Post’s Slander on Hurricanes and Climate Change

  1. Where are the graphs of increases” in sea surface temperatures? I did not notice them in my sketchy read of the post.

    • Global Cooling, last week, I presented long-term data for the hurricane development regions through August 2018 here:
      https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/august-2018-hurricane-region-sea-surface-temperatures-in-advance-of-the-peak-hurricane-month-and-florence-making-landfall-assuming-she-does/

      The WUWT cross post is here:
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/11/sea-surface-temperatures-ahead-of-hurricane-florence/

      I’ll present the long-term data for Florence’s storm track the first week in October.

      Cheers
      Bob

      • Thank you Bob Tisdale and thanks to James D. Agresti of Just Facts for an excellent article.

        The Editorial Board of the Washington Post is apparently dominated by warmist minions, who confuse their flighty emotions for scientific facts.

        Warmist minions are a strange breed – they typically have a soft degree in the humanities, majoring in English, Journalism, Sociology, Psychology, Gender Studies, Witchcraft, etc. and have no clue about the Scientific Method.

        Nevertheless, warmist minions will scream their belief in man-made global warming catastrophism and climate change hysteria – all based on what they heard from their idiot friends on Facebook and Twitter or over a “Venti, Soy, Semi-Caf, No Foam Latte” at Starbucks – and they will verbally or physically assault anyone who disagrees with their imbecilic position.

        The following brief treatise on the Scientific Method is presented for the benefit of all the warmist minions out there. If they read it, it will be the most scholarly work they have done on global warming and climate change in their entire lives – but even this 3-minute treatise will probably be too long and complicated for them.

        Best personal regards, Allan
        _______________________________

        ON THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD:

        Richard Feynman on The Scientific Method (1964)
        https://youtu.be/0KmimDq4cSU

        at 0:39/9:58: ”If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”
        At 4:01/9:58: “You can always prove any definite theory wrong.”
        At 6:09/9:58: “By having a vague theory, it’s possible to get either result.”

        THIS IS THE “CLIMATE CHANGE” ALARMISTS’ DECEITFUL STRATEGY:
        “A theory that is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific.” – Karl Popper.
        “By having a vague theory, it’s possible to get either result.” – Richard Feynman

        The “Climate Change” hypothesis is so vague, and changes so often, that it is not falsifiable and not scientific. It should be rejected as unscientific nonsense.

        If one focuses just on hurricanes, these have actually been decreasing in frequency and intensity in recent decades – that hypothesis is falsified, to date.

        The “Manmade Runaway Global Warming” hypothesis is definite enough to be falsifiable – it states that increasing atmospheric CO2 will cause dangerous global warming, and IT HAS BEEN ADEQUATELY FALSIFIED:

        1. By the ~37-year global cooling period from ~1940 to 1977 as fossil fuel combustion strongly accelerated;

        2. By “the Pause”, when temperature did not significantly increase for almost two decades, despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations;

        3. By the absence of runaway global warming over geologic time, despite much higher CO2 concentrations than today;

        4. By the absence of runaway global warming over recent time, despite increasing CO2 concentrations, allegedly due to accelerating fossil fuel combustion;

        5. By the fact that CO2 trends lags temperature trends by ~~800 years in the ice core record, and by ~9 months in the modern data record, and the undeniable reality that the future cannot cause the past.

        Global warming and climate change alarmism, in a few decades at most, will be regarded as a mass delusion, and its leaders and its followers will be widely regarded as scoundrels and imbeciles.

        In summary, there is no real dangerous global warming or wilder weather crisis. In fact, increasing atmospheric CO2 certainly improves plant and crop yields, and may cause some mild global warming, which will be net-beneficial to humanity and the environment.

        ****************************

    • The Trenberth 2017 study noted above states “increases in sea surface temperatures, which are primarily driven by human increases in greenhouse gas concentrations…” should never have passed peer review, but it is widely stated without any evidence whatsoever.

      How is it possible for the atmosphere to warm the oceans given that ocean water has a vastly greater heat capacity than air?

      You could train a blowtorch on a bucket of water for an hour and not change the water temperature substantially. Evaporation is a different thing, which actually cools the water

      “Climate Science” (TM) is full of such junk

  2. Spoilsport! Using boring old scientific data and historical evidence to obliterate hysteria, foot stamping and arm waving dressed up as factual news. I’m sure the Editor of the Post will be suitably horrified and embarrassed that one of his paper’s articles has been rubbished so comprehensively. Or perhaps not?

    • Excerpted from commentary:

      The Washington Post editorial board has accused President Trump of being “complicit” in Hurricane Florence, because “he plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks” of “extreme weather,” and “he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks.” Such weather, they say, is fueled by manmade global warming that creates “unusually warm ocean water” that worsens hurricanes.

      “HA”, it is utterly silly of anyone to suggest or infer that members of the Washington Post’s editorial board are worried, concerned or really give a damn as to what caused hurricanes and/or climate change.

      The primary “mission” of said Editorial Board members is to “badmouth” President Trump (and Republicans) in an attempt to convince the voting populace to choose Democrats as their elected reps.

      • Mac and Sam are both right. The Socialist Democrat Left wants death and destruction and fear and loathing as a tool to attack President Trump. Facts are not important in this irrational quest to destroy the Presidency and the economy, their goal is that self-important to them. What I don’t understand is why their constituents vote for them as a cure for chaos? The last two major Hurricane disasters, New Orleans and Puerto Rico, were a lot due to the incompetence of local Democrat authority. Global Warming is just another club for them to use to redistribute money and gain votes.

      • Hurricane Florence was projected to make landfall as a potentially devastating Category 4 storm. But just before landfall it weakened to barely a Category 1 hurricane, and quickly diminished to a tropical storm. If President Trump is complicit in Hurricane Florence, he should get the credit for calming the storm. After all, the media had no problem with Obama comparing himself to Jesus: “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal… “.

        Don’t hold your breath…

    • Since the 2017 and 2018 hurricanes happened
      while Trump is president, and he is supposed
      to be a billionaire, then why is he not spending
      a hundred million dollars of his own money to rebuild
      after the hurricanes?

      He is obviously a cheapskate president,
      and must be impeached for being
      a cheapskate president, according to
      Congresswoman Maxine Waters,
      a well known constitutional scholar.

    • Very good. Following his link to the BOM I found, that to the BOM’s credit, you can easily see the graph of cyclone activity:
      http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/climatology/trends.shtml
      Surprise, surprise, it shows a clearly falling trend.

      Many years ago I was impressed by the BOM’s open access to rainfall data – this was at a time of severe drought, when the morons at New Scientist called Australia “the continent that ran dry”.
      It was easy on the BOM site to choose a region of Australia and then get a rainfall graph from around 1900 onwards. It showed that, yes, in the region affected by the drought the rainfall had recently been falling a bit. But – and this is a big but – previously the rainfall had increased significantly. Although currently falling, it was merely returning to its long term average. And when I looked at the data for all of Australia, if anything the rainfall had been increasing.

      I was impressed at how easy it was to acces these graphs, although they clearly contradicted all the official propaganda. But when I tried to look at the same data recently, I couldn’t find it. It’s probably still there, but maybe hidden away from plain sight. If that’s the case then it’s very sad. I’ll take another look to see if I can find those graphs on the BOM site.
      Chris

        • You need to choose Weather and Climate Data, then Daily Rainfall. You can then choose either daily or monthly rainfall. And if you Select Using Map, you can pick a point on the map and get the historical information you are looking for.

        • “MonnaM September 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

          Chris Wright,

          It took a bit of work to find it, and I couldn’t find graphs, just tables.”

          This is the new BoM way of publishing data. It’s published in a way that only determined people go and find it. Otherwise most other people just can’t be bothered in this ear of “twitter” attention spans.

  3. Thanks for this overview but all the facts in the world will not change one iota in the mindset of those suffering from Gobal Warming Derangement Syndrome. For them only one fact counts: the President has p..sed off two godessses of the left, Gaia and Hillary. One may have been put down to bad luck, but two is unforgiveable.

  4. … manmade global warming that creates “unusually warm ocean water” that worsens hurricanes.

    The Earth’s climate is a heat engine. That means the process is driven not by absolute temperature but by the difference in temperatures. That difference in temperatures is what creates the kinetic energy of the wind.

    If the oceans were uniformly hot, there would be no hurricanes. Warm ocean waters spawn hurricanes only if there are corresponding cold waters.

    We are told that global warming will affect the polar regions much more than the tropics. In other words, the difference in temperature between the arctic and the equator will be smaller. That means less atmospheric circulation in general except for vertical convection.

    So, basic physics as well as observational data indicates that there should be fewer hurricanes in a warming world. It’s high school physics folks.

    • I thought about pointing that out, but you did a better job of it.
      If the Sun doesn’t turn back up, we might be in for their forecast baddies in greater number, but they will see it as more proof that it is Anthropogenic instead of what it actually is.
      But then whether we are freezing or nice and warm, their “solution” is always the same thing.
      Give them more power over us and fork up more money for them to play with.
      Always

    • I think it would be a travesty it there were NO hurricanes. That would mean the global climate was stagnating, which would be bad for life on Earth.

    • I fail to see the connection of a warmer Arctic and cyclonic storms that form in the eastern Atlantic (off the coast of Africa ~15°N) and begin to rotate via the Coriolis Effect. I can understand how such storms might stop if Earth stopped rotating.
      I question this statement: “Warm ocean waters spawn hurricanes only if there are corresponding cold waters.

      Where/how did Hurricane Florence’s spawning involve cold water?

      Of course we can trace back spawning of such storms to the Sahara Desert and the African Easterly Jet. This does involve contrasting air masses, but not cold ocean waters. How a Tropical Storm Starts A-Brewin’.

      For the record, I am not a hurricane specialist and never played one on television.

      • John F. Hultquist – September 16, 2018 at 10:09 am

        I question this statement: “Warm ocean waters spawn hurricanes only if there are corresponding cold waters.”

        Where/how did Hurricane Florence’s spawning involve cold water?

        Of course we can trace back spawning of such storms to the Sahara Desert and the African Easterly Jet. This does involve contrasting air masses, but not cold ocean waters.

        John F, ….. I’m sure you realize the difference between a bushel of apples and a gallon of apple cider …… even though both are spawned from the fruit of an apple tree. It doesn’t matter where the apples originated, …… in the case of “cider”, its only the end product that matters

        And the same goes for hurricanes. All hurricanes begin as a “tropical depression” …… but all “tropical depression” do not become hurricanes. It’s a “wind speed” thingy, ……. ya know, to wit:

        A tropical depression forms when a low pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce a circular wind flow with maximum sustained winds below 39 mph.

        An upgrade to a tropical storm occurs when cyclonic circulation becomes more organized and maximum sustained winds gust between 39 mph and 73 mph.

        To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 64 kn; 119 km/h) (Category 1).

          • JKrob, ……. then why didn’t you offer an INTELLIGENT reply to his valid question?

            Don’t be bashful, …….. prove you are science literate.

      • John F. –
        ******************************
        “I question this statement: “Warm ocean waters spawn hurricanes only if there are corresponding cold waters.” Where/how did Hurricane Florence’s spawning involve cold water?
        **********************************

        Indeed you should question it because it was stated out of ignorance. Looks like ol’ commieBob doesn’t understand the difference between the baroclinic process/environment and the barotropic process/environment. Arm-chair weather watchers do that at times 😉

        BAROTROPIC- Region of uniform temperature distribution; A lack of fronts. A perfect example of a barotropic environment is the southeast U.S. in the summer or the tropics. Everyday being about the same (hot and humid with no cold fronts to cool things off) would be a barotropic type atmosphere. Part of the word barotropic is tropic. The tropical latitudes are barotropic. There are no fronts (or horizontal thermal contrasts) in the tropics.

        BAROCLINIC- Distinct air mass regions exist. Fronts separate warmer from colder air. In a synoptic scale baroclinic environment you will find the polar jet in the vicinity, troughs of low pressure (mid-latitude cyclones) and frontal boundaries. There are clear density gradients in a baroclinic environment caused by the fronts. Any time you are near a mid-latitude cyclone you are in a baroclinic environment. Part of the word baroclinic is clinic. If the atmosphere is out of balance, it is baroclinic, just as if a person felt out of balance they would need to go to a clinic.

        Pretty basic stuff…if you know meteorology

        • I think you are totally bedazzled by that “baro” thingy.

          Is that some of the PC neo-science they are now brainwashing school students with?

          And ps, one doesn’t have to be a learned meteorologist to know how to read, understand a barometer.

  5. Emotion is often a lot stronger force than logic. That is what the warmists are counting on. But you would hope for better from scientists.

    • This is politics, not emotions. Obomber healed the Earth and made the oceans fall. Evil Trump causes hurricanes.

    • Dave,
      Perhaps they are ‘scientists’ in name only. Having a degree in some field of science does not necessarily mean that one has the mindset of a scientist. There are many in history who clearly acted like scientists in the absence of a degree. Many of the trolls who show up here in Comments labor under the misconception that only pre-publication, peer-reviewed research published in ‘respected’ journals are real science, and denigrate WUWT as not being science. Yet, they don’t acknowledge the well-documented failures of replication of research that gets past peer-review but is, in their mind, science.

  6. Indian media in Hyderabad [some of them have their offices in USA], they collect some CDs from the Western media houses and prepare some questions then they send a reporter to get answers to those questions. They record for 5 to 15 minutes, depending upon the questions, and go back prepare the programme for telecast at around 9.30 PM. They present the CD story and in between once or twice put my observations [slot of few seconds]. Sometimes they invite me for live discussion. There I get time to buildoze their introductory observations based on Western Media reports. Issues relate to India and as well Western nations.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  7. Actually, global temperature has fallen about 0.05 degree since Mr Trump became President. I guess he did that.

  8. There is semi-anecdotal evidence that hurricane frequency decreased in the 1970’s and 1980’s, compared to what it was in the 1940’s and 1950’s – books that are set in the time they were written, in other words, books whose setting is the “now” of their publication date.

    In stories from the 1950’s and 1960’s hurricanes are frequently used as a plot device. A couple of examples: The author needs a power outage, so “winds from a hurricane have taken down power lines”. The author needs a person to be late for a meeting or miss a meeting, so ” the roads were closed because of the storm”.

    This plot device drops out of use some time in the 1970’s, which indicates that the hurricane frequency dropped far enough that “a hurricane” was no longer perceived as a believable reason for a thing-going-wrong.

  9. Missing quotation? There seems to be no quoted material following this lead-in:

    “The academic serial work Flood Geomorphology stresses the danger of relying on computer models instead of hard data:”

  10. If the Post says Trump caused the category 4 hurricane, shouldn’t they give him credit for lowering it to a category one?

  11. So…. WE know that this is rubbish – but is anyone pushing the Mainstream Media to change their tune?

    …thought not….

    • Don’t you get that facts don’t matter anymore? People believe what they believe, usually because they’ve been “informed” by what they consider trustworthy sources (MSM for typical lefties), and after that there’s simply no way to reach them. I concede it’s terribly depressing, but I don’t see anything that can be done about it.

    • dodgy, how does one push the mainstream media to change their tune or for that matter even to do adequate fact checking? With magazines and newspapers it is relatively easy, cancel your subscription. They make their money from advertisers based on the number of newspapers sold. Problem is that national dailies, like the NY Times and WaPo, still have enough readers to make money from their advertisers. Yet today both of those newspapers have heavy financial support from billionaires who appear to only be interested in spreading propaganda. As for the broadcast news, like the old news at six, local news still is profitable but network news programs have declined dramatically or even disappeared. Interestingly, often network talk and magazine shows have a bigger audience. Then we come to the 24-7 cable news channels. Even though MSNBC and CNN have been caught a lot recently broadcasting truly false information or information from unverifiable sources they still chug along. For both the 24-7 cable news and the national dailies it requires their advertisers to start either putting the pressure on to change their ways or to no longer advertise with those outlets. Watch the 24-7 news channels, with the sound off, and note who the advertisers are. It is possible that if enough people wrote enough advertisers that it would make a difference.

  12. Any time someone uses less than the whole data base to draw conclusions had better have a clearly stated justification as to why that was done. If they do not, it is a fair indication what they are doing is not really science, but preaching.
    In a different field, John Lott notes some studies using only one or two of the US states records for a comparison, when the records cover the whole country fall apart when using different states or the whole record. Similarly, measuring arctic sea ice starting from 1978 skews any conclusions, as that was the centennial high point.

    • Tom Halla,
      I’ve generally found Lott to be much more reliable than the press releases he is responding to. I’d like to read the piece you are referring to. Can you provide me with a link, or at least more than your unsubstantiated claim?

      • Clyde, where I saw the discussion by John Lott was in his 2016 book, “The War on Guns”. He uses the point multiple times in dealing with various studies, many financed by Bloomberg.

        • Tom,
          I haven’t read Lott’s book, because I’m quite familiar with his other writings. Also, I have more than a passing acquaintance with the topic, having written a self-published book by the same name 25 years earlier. My book details the lies and distortions used by the media and advocacy groups, and therefore I’m familiar with both Lott and the MSM. If pressed to support one side or the other, I’d go with Lott. Perhaps you could be a little more specific and save me the trouble of reading through a topic that would be largely review?

          • Lott, in 313 pages, mostly gives rebuttals to studies where if one examines more than the one state, or a period longer than the period in the study, the claimed effect for a given gun law goes away, or is not at all remarkable. Similarly, in one study, the countries omitted from the graph all had higher homicide rates than the US, thus skewing the relative position of the US.
            And this is a subject I can go on about indefinitely, so as to avoid off-topic moderation. . .

          • Tom Halla,
            If you would care to continue on this topic, I can be reached at: clyde underscore h underscore spencer at hotmail dot com.

  13. All the usual suspects are bigging-up the disaster porn. Main stream news as the providers of unreliable reporting are blabbing all the usual scientific and political nonsense. Still the sheeple lap it up! 😉

  14. NOAA’s site has a page for climate change and hurricanes. It use to have a paragraph in the beginning that stated there is no evidence of man causing more hurricanes or making them stronger. In June the page was updated with their models indicate an increase in hurricanes and strength in the future and then they include the aforementioned paragraph at the end. Sneaky!

  15. The Washington Post editorial…..

    I’ve learned to look at the comments first before I read something like this…
    Usually the comments are trashing it…..that says a lot
    …and if they don’t allow comments…that says it all

  16. the planet has been here for millions of years. the climate has varied, weather has varied. it will be ever so until the planet no longer exists and all the words and so called science will not change a damn thing.

  17. ” Thus, to blame Trump for Hurricane Florence or any other hurricane in the past or future is absurd.”

    I think it’s beyond absurd, it’s wicked and malicious.

  18. From the article: “However, if the data only went back to 1941, it would seem that hurricanes and major hurricanes are trending downward”

    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/clip_image0101.jpg

    The chart definitely shows a downward trend in numbers of hurricanes since 1941. And all this took place while CO2 is increasing. There seems to be a disconnect here.

    I heard a quote from tv and radio a couple of days ago with the claim that landfalling U.S. hurricane intensity had decreased from an average CAT 3.2 to an average of CAT 2.7.

    I haven’t found a source for the basis of this quote, but I heard it from two different sources.

    • I guess reverting back to this old format has caused the charts not to display. All I get is the url showing, but no pretty picture.

    • those were the numbers I gave Rush Limbaugh, and they refer to the 36 most costly hurricane strikes in the U.S. It was to demonstrate that while the cost of damaging hurricanes have skyrocketed, it’s not because of the strength of the hurricanes.

    • Tom,

      Nice graphic except it ends around that big season in 2005.

      Would like to see the next 10 or so years and see if the hockey stick trend continues.

      TC

    • That chart would have been rather more convincing if it hadn’t stopped in 2006, exactly at the beginning of the decade-long “hurricane drought” when not a single major hurricane made landfall in the US.

  19. “I think we can say that the storm is stronger, wetter and more impactful from a coastal flooding standpoint than it would have been BECAUSE of human-caused warming,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann wrote in an email. “And we don’t need an attribution study to tell us that in my view. We just need the laws of thermodynamics.”

    • ‘.. A 2015 paper in the Journal of Hydrology analyzed rainfall measurements “made at nearly 1,000 stations located in 114 countries” and found “no significant global precipitation change from 1850 to present.”’

      “..· A 2012 paper in the Hydrological Sciences Journal examined U.S. flood trends from 200 water gauges with records extending from 85 to 127 years ago. This study found “no strong empirical evidence” for increased flood magnitudes across any of the four major regions of the United States….”.

    • The claim is that the oceans have warmed about 0.02C. Exactly how much stronger do you believe this increase will make a hurricane?

      Beyond that, how do you tell the difference between that and natural warming?

      • No. The air is warmer. So it can hold more moisture. 4% extra for each degree. That’s what Mann is referring to.

        • Mr. Mann, if he wants to be a scientist, must include the phrase: “…all else being equal” when he makes such statements. It is true that if the air and oceans are marmer, and everything else is unchanged, the laws of thermodynamics would dictate that we would see stronger storms and heavier rains, but the atmosphere is far from that simple. Everything changes when one ingredient is changed, making such simple statements, like Dr. Mann’s, completely irrelevant and meaningless.

          As we saw with Florence, water temperature alone could not manafest a cat 4 all the way to the coast, as originally predicted. Instead, and upper-level low formed east of Florida and provided southerly wind shear that disrupted the heat-engine we called Florence. Why did the upper-level low develop? Would it have been in the same place at the same time if the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was unchanged over the last 1,000 years? Certainly not! Or maybe it would have been there, but Florence would not have been. Or any one of another of the infinite possibilities.

          In a chaotic, non-linear system, drawing simple, linear conclusions from a small change in one variable is a fools dream. How the system will change can only be determined by reliable, long-term observation, and even that does not constitute proof.

          Mr. Mann is an advocate in this regard. Not a scientist.

        • First you claim it’s warmer water, now when that’s shown to be bogus, you suddenly discover that it’s actually warmer air. Not that the air is measurably warmer over the last 30 years.

          What lie will you come up with next?

    • “…Just need the laws of thermodynamics.”

      I will admit that thermodynamics is a useful branch of science to begin with for an understanding of how a hurricane operates. However, thermodynamics deals with equilibrium situations, whereas hurricanes are not equilibrium phenomena. Hurricanes are fluid dynamical and non-equilibrium, exhibiting many phenomena that thermodynamics cannot even begin to explain. Perhaps an example will help explain my point.

      The theory of paramagnetism requires quantum mechanics for a complete explanation. Richard Feynman, in discussing the classical theory of paramagnetism, said that if one starts an argument at some arbitrary point and doesn’t carry the argument to its full conclusion, that argument likely will, like the paramagnetism example, prove something that is not so. The IR properties of CO2 applied to global warming arguments, and the laws of thermodynamics applied to earth’s climate are exactly in the same category. One would think that any scientist worth a darn would understand this.

      • K. Kilty

        However, thermodynamics deals with equilibrium situations, whereas hurricanes are not equilibrium phenomena. Hurricanes are fluid dynamical and non-equilibrium, exhibiting many phenomena that thermodynamics cannot even begin to explain.

        Well, the simplified thermal dynamics equations most often used by the climastrologists DO resort back to thermal equilibrium and static, flat-earth average cases of averaage radiation over an average day in an average year with an average cloud albedo and average land albedo.

        The details “dynamics” part of the thermodynamics and fluid flow equations begin even then with simplifications and approximations. The global circulation models “attempt” to pretend they remain “perfect in excruciating detail” in each cell while approximating all of the major ” details”.

  20. Joseph Goebbels couldn’t have done things any better than WAPO did in that editorial.

    https://www.azquotes.com/quote/705003

    “..There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be “the man in the street.” Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology…” — Joseph Goebbels

  21. I intended to complement Trump for downgrading Florence from a Cat 4 to a Cat 1 by way of shifting the Gulf Stream further East, thus cooling the waters off the Carolina Coast , but youz wise guys ruined the occasion.

  22. The article confuses making political points based on emotional responses and dealing with facts. Good luck trying to persaude those with TDS that Trump is not responsible, at least in part.

    Scott Adams makes the point that the same people who blame Trump for a hurricane give him no credit for the economy. Obama apparently is responsible for the economy, Trump the hurricane. Go figure.

  23. The biggest problem that we have as sane truth and fact hunting humans is to inform the population of their ignorance, not because they are stupid, but too busy or not aware of the future.

    Pass to as many of you friends,aquaintenances the sites of this one and
    Armstrong Economics.

    No need for Annything else.

    The swamp cannot be drained without you. ,!!

  24. Anthony,
    A response to Dave never made it to prime time. There wasn’t even a notice about it being moderated.

      • Anthony,
        Yes, the first comment to Dave has shown up. However, another comment to Tom Halla just evaporated and hitting F5 doesn’t help.

        Also, my name and email address are not being retained, and I have to re-enter the info each time.

          • John,
            This is new behavior since the site went down. It appears that they may be showing up after a considerable delay, or intervention by Anthony. In any event, I thought that he would like to know about the unusual behavior.

          • I have to re-enter mine each time as well. It was remembered by WordPress previously. It is stored by my browser, but I have to click in each field for it to appear.

  25. Anthony, may I suggest a clarification. You noted, “These are computer models that predict what will happen—not what has actually happened.”

    Even with the modeling, ‘will’ is a very big word. I suggest that ‘may’ is the proper term to use. ‘. . predict what may happen.’

    Thanks

    • Oops – I realize that ‘you’ didn’t write the piece; that it was James Agresti. It’s a great presentation – thanks for posting it.

  26. How could there be a better example of science denial than the belief that holding particular views, and signing pieces of paper, which are all that one can point to when the policies have not even gone into effect, have the capacity to control the weather?

    This thinking is nothing short of modern superstition.

  27. “As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in 2012” Since then, some new reports have been released with quite different results.

  28. Even if it’s found that rising SST’s have caused some minor increase in cyclonic storm frequency and intensity, it’s worthwhile to note – to keep on the table for discussion – that of the say, 1 C +/-, of warming which has occurred since the end of the LIA, most of it would have been naturally occurring. Any measurable anthropogenic footprint in that warming would have only been potentially present since mid-20th Century (or decades later). And, if the warmists turn out to win on the, “most of recent GW is man-made,’ that bit would be less than 0.5C; what? A tenth, or two, or 3C?

    Lost in the alarmist media’s shrill is seemingly any awareness of the fact that most to all GW, CC, SLR, glacier & ice caps melting, etc., to date – is naturally occurring.

  29. OK, so I see the data and such. But the REAL question (which separates the wannabes from REAL “climate scientists”) is what the model predicts! Because THAT is really what we need to be concerned with, these short, small, insignificant 50 year trends are just weather, the REAL climate is seen by looking at the models!

  30. Anyone know – have a link – what the final storm surge numbers are? I think that it topped out at 18 feet for Hazel, back in 1954.

  31. Hi, OT but the new format is awkward to post in and tedious to scroll down.

    The thing about holding someone complicit for a naturally occurring weather event is that it makes accuser into a witch burner. Someone who just happens to discover that the unfavorable weather event is caused by the person the accuser just happens to dislike.
    Or perhaps the WaPo is not wicked, but is rather just delusional.

    • “If Obama is responsible for the economic recovery as he says he is,”

      Obama lies a lot.

      The next time Obama makes such a claim someone should ask him to tell us about the action he took to help the U.S. economy.

      Increasing regulations on business doesn’t help the economy. Increasing the cost of energy and running coal producers out of business doesn’t help the economy. Obama said that energy prices would “necessarily go up”. How does that help the U.S. economy?

      You won’t be hearing Obama or any of his fans giving a list of Obama’s economic accomplishments because they are few and far between. He signed the bank bailout bill. He signed the GM bailout. He signed a shovel-ready jobs act. Now, go back and look at the results of those bills. The bank bailout was controversial, but I agreed with it because of the psychology of the time. The GM bailout screwed GM bondholders and favored GM’s Democrat union leadership. The Shovel-ready jobs accomplished nothing because it was discovered there were no shovel-ready jobs. No telling where that $865 billion went.

      Those three things were marginally beneficial to the U.S. economy, depending on who you ask, but all Obama’s other actions were certainly detrimental to the U.S. economy.

      The economic growth that took place on Obama’s watch would have taken place no matter who was in the White House. Obama wants to claim responsibility for a normal recovery after the recession of 2008.

      • The Shovel-ready jobs accomplished nothing because it was discovered there were no shovel-ready jobs. No telling where that $865 billion went.

        I know absolutely that at least some of that $865 billion went to (union, reliable democrat donors) voters at the DOE enrichment/research nuclear facilities near Knoxville TN: Two Teamsters were “employed” to drive “motor-operated wheeled vehicles” (ie, lawn mowers) around the labs; with a full time “safety watch” (traffic guide/supervisor) also needed each shift.

  32. By continuing to destroy forests to print their worthless rag on paper; the Washington Post contributes more to the imaginary problem of AGW than anything Trump has been able to do yet. They have technology options for delivery, and I can find other fishwrap, kindling, and cage liners ( like the Falls Church Free Press).

    Hopefully, Team Trump will be able to push his agenda thru and we can end this nonsense and get us on a path to 800 to 1200 ppm CO2 so we can feed 7B+ people.

    • “Hopefully, Team Trump will be able to push his agenda thru and we can end this nonsense and get us on a path to 800 to 1200 ppm CO2 so we can feed 7B+ people.”

      It won’t matter what he pushes through. It will all be undone with the next democrat, or RINO that gets elected.

  33. Since the Washington Post is crediting President Trump with a cat 5 hurricane, will they give him credit for reducing it to a cat 1 before landfall?

      • However there were Democrats who claimed that Bush was able to direct Katrina so that it hit only Democrat cities.

        (Katrina hit lots of Republican places as well, the difference was the Republican cities had governments that worked. The emergency services in those areas operated as designed and there was nothing newsworthy for the media to fixate on.)

        • So Dem “solution” for extreme weather is to build the kind of energy infrastructure that is 100% guaranteed to be destroyed by high winds, before houses and trees are.

          At that point promoting Dem “solutions” should be in the DSM and if it isn’t, it should be an indictment of the psy field.

  34. If the True Believers can spin silk out of a decline in hurricane activity, imagine what they’ll do when we have another decade like the 1940’s.

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