No, Hurricanes Are Not Bigger, Stronger and More Dangerous

From Forbes

Roger Pielke Contributor


I research and write about science, policy and politics.

Earlier this week a paper published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by a team of authors led by Aslak Grinsted, a scientist who studies ice sheets at the University of Copenhagen, claimed that “the frequency of the very most damaging hurricanes has increased at a rate of 330% per century.”

The press release accompanying the paper announced that United States mainland “hurricanes are becoming bigger, stronger and more dangerous” and with the new study, “doubt has been eradicated.”

If true, the paper (which I’ll call G19, using its lead author’s initial and year of publication) would overturn decades of research and observations that have indicated over the past century or more, there are no upwards trends in U.S. hurricane landfalls and no upwards trends in the strongest storms at landfall. These conclusions have been reinforced by the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), U.S. National Climate Assessment, and most recently of the World Meteorological Organization.

In fact, however, the new PNAS paper is fatally flawed. The conclusions of major scientific assessments remain solid. As I’ll show below, G19 contains several major errors and as a result it should be retracted.

The first big problem with G19 is that it purports to say something about climatological trends in hurricanes, but it uses no actual climate data on hurricanes. That’s right, it instead uses data on economic losses from hurricanes to arrive at conclusions about climate trends. The economic data that it uses are based on research that I and colleagues have conducted over more than two decades, which makes me uniquely situated to tell you about the mistakes in G19.Compare the counts of hurricanes reported in G19 with those that can be found in climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

From 1900 to 1958, the first half of the period under study, NOAA reports that there were 117 total hurricanes that struck the mainland U.S.. But in contrast, G19 has only 92. They are missing 25 hurricanes. In the second half of the dataset, from 1959 to 2017, NOAA has 91 hurricanes that struck the U.S., and G19 has 155, that is 64 extra hurricanes.

The AP passed along the incorrect information when it reported that the new study looks at “247 hurricanes that hit the U.S. since 1900.” According to NOAA, from 1900 to 2017 there were in fact only 197 hurricanes that made 208 unique landfalls (9 storms had multiple landfalls).

Part of this difference can be explained by the fact that G19 focus on economic damage, not hurricanes. If a hurricane from early in the 20th century resulted in no reported damage, then according to G19 it did not exist. That’s one reason why we don’t use economic data to make conclusions about climate. A second reason for the mismatched counts is that G19 counts many non-hurricanes as hurricanes, and disproportionately so in the second half of the dataset.

The mismatch between hurricane counts in G19 versus those of NOAA by itself calls into question the entire paper. But it gets much worse.

The dataset on losses from hurricanes used by G19 to generate its top-line conclusions is based on my research. That dataset has been maintained by a company called ICAT located in Colorado. The ICAT dataset was initially created about a decade ago by a former student and collaborator of mine, Joel Gratz, based entirely on our 2008 hurricane loss dataset (which I’ll call P08).

In the years since, ICAT has made some significant changes to its dataset, most notably, by replacing P08 loss estimates with loss estimates from the “billion dollar disasters” tabulation kept by the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The replacement data begins in 1980, at the start of the NCEI dataset.

This process created a new hybrid dataset, from 1900 to 1980 the ICAT dataset is based on P08 and for 1980 to 2018 it is based on NCEI. This is hugely problematic for G19, which was apparently unaware that of the details of the dataset that they had found online.

In our comprehensive update of P08 published last year (Weinkle et al. 2018, or W18) we explained that the NCEI methodology for calculating losses included many factors that had historically not been included in tabulations of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, “for instance, to include federal disaster aid, federal flood insurance payouts, national and local agricultural commodity effects and other macro-economic impacts.”

That meant that one cannot, as ICAT has done, simply append the NCEI dataset from 1980 to the end of the P08 dataset starting in 1900. They are not apples to apples. Indeed, a big part of our work in the W18 update of P08 was to ensure that the data was apples to apples across the entire dataset, and we performed several statistical consistency checks to ensure that was the case.

The new PNAS paper, G19 unwittingly uses the ICAT dataset that staples together P08 and NCEI. I have shown with several graphs on Twitter why this matters: Before 1940, G19 and W18 loss estimates for individual are just about the same. After 1980, however, G19 loss estimates for individual storms are on average about 33% higher than those of W18. The result is a data incontinuity that introduces spurious trends to the dataset.

Full article here.

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Kevin Balch
November 16, 2019 10:39 pm

Whenever one of these studies is presented, I ask two questions. First, has this study’s conclusions been confirmed by any other studies or experiments? Second, what issues were identified during the peer review and how where they addressed.

The second question in particular throws them for a loop since peer review is touted as ensuring the science is sound. But this has to be taken on faith since the process is completely hidden. We have no way of knowing whether the peer review confined itself to style, wording and grammar or whether it actually uncovered technical issues and whether they were adequately addressed.

Ron Long
Reply to  Kevin Balch
November 17, 2019 2:42 am

Roger does such an excellent job presenting the facts that your two questions are probably answered in the negative. I suggest you should therefore ask a third question: was this report (PNAS-Grinsted) knowingly falsely constructed, ie, hockey stick II?

Kurt Linton
Reply to  Kevin Balch
November 17, 2019 4:46 am
Reply to  Kurt Linton
November 17, 2019 5:54 am

PNAS is really just a vanity journal. Join NAS and you get the right to two papers per year where you can chose compliant pals to “peer” at them as say it’s good to publish.

It’s basically just a pay to publish journal. Their long term members get a string of publications to their name and NAS gets a long string of “prominent” scientists with solid publishing records to puff up their numbers and annual revenues.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

Reply to  Greg
November 17, 2019 3:09 pm

Many reputable journals nowadays ask you to suggest 3, 4, or even 5 reviewers for your paper, when you submit. You have to fill in the blanks or you cannot progress to the next page.

You often cannot tell this from the “instructions for authors” information. You may just hit it as you try to submit.

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
November 17, 2019 3:42 pm

I’m not sure there are “many” reputable journals left.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Kevin Balch
November 17, 2019 1:18 pm

“First, has this study’s conclusions been confirmed by any other independent studies or experiments?”

I added an important word.

November 16, 2019 10:47 pm

Excellent deconstruction, Roger Pielke.

Reply to  ATheoK
November 17, 2019 12:03 am

There is the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” It means you miss the meaning of something because you have become engrossed in the details.

It is possible to take a data set, analyze the heck out of it, validate your analysis statistically, and produce absolute rubbish. Somewhere I have a statistics textbook written for Bell Labs a long time ago, maybe the 1920s (I think my copy was printed in the 1960s). It takes great pains to point out that you must understand the nature of the data before you attempt to analyze it. Sadly, I think that simple requirement is more honored in the breech than the observance.

I wonder if Grinsted will accuse Pielke of hand waving. That’s a usual defense mounted by idiots everywhere.

Reply to  commieBob
November 17, 2019 2:28 am

“There is the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” It means you miss the meaning of something because you have become engrossed in the details.”

There’s an analogous expression in some religious circles, that reminds me very much of what I’m seeing coming out of academia: “He’s so heavenly minded that he’s no earthly good.”

Reply to  commieBob
November 17, 2019 7:55 am

Dr. Shewhart, a true statistical pioneer, wrote the original handbook in the 1920s. It was “updated” in 1956 with a committee listed as “author”. I was given a copy of the original version when I went to work at Western Electric’s Kearny NJ plant in 1962.

I subsequently spent a significant part of my career installing “quality improvement” programs (e.g. Six Sigma, Lean Thinking) in another large corporation . We were one of the original 6 Sigma companies along with TI and Motorola ; (GE borrowed from us) and we had a rigorous Black Belt program (1 year training removed from normal department duties) before BB became a commercial product sold by everyone and their brother.

Yes, we pounded into our BBs (and “Mgt BBs”) the need to understand the nature of the data.

(It’s a shame that Dr Shewhart’s contributions seems to have been neglected the the new “History of Now”.)

BTW, it was not that long ago when Dr. P Jr stuck his head above the ramparts in the Climate Wars and John Holdren tried to shoot it off from the comfort of the Oval Office.

Reply to  George Daddis
November 17, 2019 9:31 am


The book I was referring to is: Probability and its Engineering Uses by Thornton C. Fry.

All logical processes are hedged about by a maze of fine distinctions which cannot be included in a formal symbolic expression without making it so complicated as utterly to destroy its usefulness These distinctions are often important so important in fact that all sorts of
errors may arise through fading to remember them In particular, in the Theory of Probability there have arisen a host of paradoxes, almost all of which are due to using formal logical processes in places where, upon recalling their origin, we should not expect them to apply. link

That pretty much sums up what Dr. Pielke Jr. has discovered with regard to the Grinsted paper.

Reply to  George Daddis
November 17, 2019 9:52 am
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  commieBob
November 18, 2019 9:54 am

As I have already pointed out elsewhere it is wholly in appropriate to try to fit a least squares regression to data on hurricanes. The frequency of landfalls is quite well modelled by a Poisson distribution, as may be expected for an infrequent event. The Poisson distribution only has one parameter: the average rate of occurrence. That implies the best diagnostic for trends is to take a reasonable length moving average. Do that, and it is immediately clear that the incidence of landfalls has been in decline.

November 16, 2019 10:56 pm

Never let the truth get in the way of a good (and profitable) scare story.

November 16, 2019 11:04 pm

“No, Hurricanes Are Not Bigger, Stronger and More Dangerous”

Also this

No, Hurricanes Are Not a major source of total global cyclone energy. And No, economic harm of tropical cyclones are not a measure of cyclone energy.

Pls see

Dave Fair
November 16, 2019 11:26 pm

Will there be any efforts to get the paper retracted?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Dave Fair
November 18, 2019 10:01 am
Lee L
November 16, 2019 11:36 pm

But but…. peer review.

Reply to  Lee L
November 17, 2019 8:48 am

“But but…. peer review.”

This is a proper review –

Hokey Schtick
November 17, 2019 12:02 am

The circus rolls on, a never ending procession of clowns.

steve case
November 17, 2019 12:06 am

Just like the Tom Karl “Pause Buster” paper, and the Steve Nerem “Sea Level Acceleration Detected” paper. Hurricanes and sea level rise are the biggest scares in the newly renamed Climate Crisis/Climate Emergency. On the horizon we can probably expect new papers on “Extreme Tornadoes” The “Global Methane Bomb” and “Ocean Acidification” and . . .

In other news, presidential candidate Tom Steyer plans to declare the climate crisis a national emergency on day one of his presidency and use the emergency powers of the office to protect the American public. Link

mick muller
November 17, 2019 1:32 am

Can someone point out to me what the AP refers to in the line
“The AP passed along the incorrect information when it reported that the new study looks at “247 hurricanes that hit the U.S. since 1900.” According to NOAA, from 1900 to 2017 there were in fact only 197 hurricanes that made 208 unique landfalls (9 storms had multiple landfalls)”.


Alastair Brickell
Reply to  mick muller
November 17, 2019 3:34 am

mick muller
November 17, 2019 at 1:32 am

I assume that AP stands for Associated Press but I could well be wrong.

Perhaps Associated Press = Alarmist Press in matters climate these days!

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 17, 2019 6:45 am

Alarmist Propaganda?

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  mick muller
November 17, 2019 9:06 am

The Associated Press (AP)** is a clearing house for articles such as this one:
by Seth Borenstein .


When a person writes such things as – –
– the AP passed along; or
– the NYT believes; or
– the Wall Street Journal claims;

. . . a person ought to know specifically who wrote what, and in what manner: news article, opinion published in but not written by, written by the editor(s), letter to the editor, others(?).

Reply to  mick muller
November 17, 2019 9:54 am

I think the G19 study counts not only hurricanes that made landfall, but also (for post-1958) hurricanes that caused economic damage without having their centers pass over US land. I wonder if it also counts storms that were hurricanes at some time but that made landfall as tropical storms or as extratropical cyclones and caused economic damage, especially after 1958.

Reply to  mick muller
November 17, 2019 3:12 pm

“OP” = original post,” or “original poster.” OP may have been auto-corrected to “AP.”

November 17, 2019 1:40 am

Aaaaah, thx mr. Pielke, that it’s still possible to find study reviews that are not as plain stupid as the studies themselves.
I had to ask myself: Does Aslak Grinsted’s mother actually know what her son is doing?

Stephen Richards
November 17, 2019 1:45 am

Mathematics by Diane Abbot of the UK labour party

From 1900 to 1958, the first half of the period under study, NOAA reports that there were 117 total hurricanes that struck the mainland U.S.. But in contrast, G19 has only 92. They are missing 25 hurricanes. In the second half of the dataset, from 1959 to 2017, NOAA has 91 hurricanes that struck the U.S., and G19 has 155, that is 64 extra hurricanes.

Jay willis
Reply to  Stephen Richards
November 17, 2019 4:39 am

Stephen, what’s your problem with Diane Abbott? If I recall correctly she won a place at Cambridge without attending a private school and graduated. If you have any comments to make about her cognitive abilities that aren’t based on a single mistake in arithmetic that was endlessly repeated in order to belittle her, then I, for one, would like to hear them. Otherwise perhaps you might concentrate on the matters at hand.

Reply to  Jay willis
November 17, 2019 6:24 am

I have no stake in this fight and didn’t know anything about Diane Abbott, however, there seem to be numerous instances of her demonstrating cognitive deficiencies.

Reply to  Scissor
November 17, 2019 9:09 am

Diane Abbott is the perfect example of the state of British politics,
but we keep voting the same arrogant tw@s in …time after time.

You know how stupid the average voter is … well 50% are stupider than that !

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jay willis
November 17, 2019 8:43 am

“Won” is it? Please. Do tell us what the achievements were that won her a place at Cambridge. I’m sure that there were many other daughters of a nurse and a welder who were similarly selected without regard to race and no doubt all graduated through their hard work alone. There may even have been a token blue-eyed blonde Finnish one who has never seen a black person and would not know how to take their temperature. Surely though it would not be a surprise to find that they all supported the IRA and think that Mao did more good than harm on balance.

When you are desperate to select someone because of the political value of the color of their skin or their “disadvantaged” social status, rather than the content of their character or even the quality of their prior achievements, it should not come as a surprise that they will be a disgrace to your institution at some point. And so it came to pass for Cambridge with the racist, innumerate loon, Diane Abbott.

But Jay, you really ought to have been more straightforward in accusing Stephen of being a bigot. That was your intent wasn’t it?

Reply to  Rich Davis
November 17, 2019 10:27 am

Mao did more good than harm according to her. Besides directly executing millions and starving to death tens of millions more, his policies led to forced abortions of tens of millions more and infanticide of millions of girls.

His brutality and failed policies eventually led to reforms after he died.

Reply to  Jay willis
November 17, 2019 8:50 am

She has a degree in history yet a few years ago she claimed that the first Blacks in Britain were Roman soldiers “centuries before the birth of Christ.” Actually the first Roman soldiers to land in Britain were those who took part in Julius Caesar’s two abortive invasions just over 50 years before the birth of Christ, as most intelligent children knew when British history was taught properly in schools 60 years ago.

Reply to  Jay willis
November 17, 2019 8:53 am

She has a degree in history yet a few years ago she claimed that the first Blacks in Britain were Roman soldiers “centuries before the birth of Christ. That should tell you what a poor advertisement she is for a Cambridge education as well as confirming her innumeracy.

Reply to  Roy
November 17, 2019 7:15 pm

Well, yes the first “Blacks” may have been in Britain centuries before Christ but obviously not as Roman soldiers.

It is possible, but not certain, that black Africans could have been crew members of Phoenician trading ships visting Cornwall to trade for tin as far back as 1500BCE. If so then black Africans may have been in Britain almost 2000 years before Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

David George
Reply to  Jay willis
November 17, 2019 9:33 am

Oops Jay. What’s the problem with Dianne Abbot? Where to start?
Her first instinct is to lie, she tries to cover her ignorance of the basics of her shadow portfolio with complete nonsense. And she’s a racist.

November 17, 2019 2:14 am

Thanks Roger.

It doesn’t matter the “science” is so flawed, the meme is out there now. Its what people want to hear.
This reminds me of The Hunt for Red October

They’re using sonar as if they’re looking for something, but nobody’s listening.
What do you mean?
At their speed they could run over my daughter’s stereo and not hear it.
They’re not searching for Ramius. They’re driving him.
Driving him where?
The hounds to the hunters.

Rod Evans
November 17, 2019 2:18 am

OK so a brief summary of where we are. according to the Greta god of Climate alarmists
1. Hurricanes are getting bigger, actual situation, they are not.
2. Hurricanes are getting more numerous they claim. actual situation, they are not.
3. Heat waves are more numerous. actual state of heat waves is, they are declining.
4. Extremely hot days over 100 deg F are increasing, actual situation, extreme heat days are declining.
5. Children are being damaged by pollution, yes we must stop pollution. CO2 is not a pollutant.
6. Polar Bears disappearing due to GW, actual position, Polar bears are thriving and increasing in numbers.
7. Walruses are committing mass suicide due to CO2, actual cliff fall, caused by Polar Bears attacking.
8. Sea level is accelerating, actual situation, sea level rise is normal with no change in the past 150 yrs.
9. The seas are becoming acidic. actual position, the seas are the same ph now, as they were 150 yrs ago.
10. CO2 is destroying the climate, actual situation CO2 is having no measurable effect on climate.
11. CO2 is a pollutant claim the EPA. actual truth CO2 is not a pollutant it is greening the planet…literally.
12. CO2 is very bad and must be reduced, actual position CO2 is very good we need more in the atmosphere.
13. The ice sheets in Greenland are melting, actual position the ice sheets are stable.
15 The ice in the arctic is disappearing. actual position the ice is stable and is variable with conditions.
16. Renewable Electricity generation is a clean form of energy. actual position it is expensive and unreliable.
17. Bioethenol is a moral energy option. actual position, people starve yet vehicles are powered by food?
18. All fossil fuel use must be stopped. No. It would cause mass starvation probably over 5 billion would die.
19. Corals are dying, actual position corals are living and are normal.
20. The world is too hot. actual position, the world is too cold as proved by annual mass cold deaths.
21. There will be no snow, all ski resorts will close. actual position good snow falls and thriving ski resorts.
22. Wild fires are becoming more common. actual position we have lower burn areas now than 100 years ago.
23. The lack of sea ice will allow pleasure trips to the north pole. actual position they all fail to get there.
24. Average land height is lower than we thought, giving concern for sea rise impacts. see answer 8.
25. Eating meat causes climate change. actual position eating meat is good and has no impact on climate.
26. Oil based products are environmentally bad. actually, we need oil/plastic insulation for electrical wiring.
27. CO2 increase causes temperature to rise. actual situation, temperature rise causes CO2 to increase.
28. The timber industry felling trees is bad, actual position, lumber production prevents wild fires.
29. Fossil fuel vehicles must be banned. actual position, all emergency services rely on fossil fuels.
30. Battery power is environmentally good. actual position, all chemical batteries are bad for the environment.
I will leave it at that, for now, you get the picture, I could have just provided the links that answer each false climate alarm statement but there are so many scientific papers trouncing climate alarmist nonsense, it would have consumed the entire page.

Reply to  Rod Evans
November 17, 2019 4:04 am

You and your facts and logic. Heretic!

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 18, 2019 7:20 am

Didn’t I read somewhere recently that facts were racist?

Reply to  Rod Evans
November 17, 2019 9:48 am

Sea pH is not unchanged, but about .1 less than it was 150 years ago.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 17, 2019 1:00 pm

You are aware that the pH scale was only invented in 1909?

So how did they manage to measure it to a precision of 0.1 forty years before it existed?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  tty
November 17, 2019 4:06 pm

This was obviously established by analyzing fossil sea water.

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 17, 2019 2:32 am

Mixing datasets after 1980? A case of unhide the decline?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 17, 2019 10:39 am

More like Mike’s Nature Trick.

November 17, 2019 2:33 am

The ocean/atmosphere interaction in the area of Atlantic some distance off the NW African coast, where most of hurricanes are initiated, is not isolated from the rest of the Atlantic’s past events.
Part of the warm waters of the N. Atlantic currents down-well southwest of Iceland leaving an imprint on the atmospheric pressure in the wider area with records from Reykjavik going back many decades.
Down-welled water striped of its heat content flows back as deep cold current towards the equator, with part of it up-welling, as it happens in the area off the NW African coast.
This process creates a feedback system, with somewhat uncertain intensity since the volumes of down- and up- welling waters depend on many other factors, but there is a strong indication that there is an approximately 15 year feedback loop with results depicted in this illustration
It has to be understood that ocean currents and atmospheric interactions are not hard wired electrical circuits; therefore there is a large degree of uncertainty but the link appear to be strong enough to be taken into consideration in any estimate of the future trends.

November 17, 2019 2:50 am

Thanks to Roger for his analysis and deconstruction

As regards ‘more and more frequent hurricanes’ many activists seem unaware of the hurricane drought over the last 12 years, noted in 2016 by the ‘Washington Post’ the U.S. equivalent of the excitable ‘Guardian’. The highly respected American GFDL contributed 14 scientists on six chapters of the IPCC assessment in 2013 and noted; (edited for brevity)

“Existing records of past Atlantic tropical storm or hurricane numbers (from 1878 to present) in fact do show a pronounced upward trend…. However, the density of reporting ship traffic over the Atlantic was relatively sparse during the early decades of this record, such that if storms from the modern era (post 1965) had hypothetically occurred during those earlier decades, a substantial number of storms would likely not have been directly observed by the ship-based “observing network of opportunity.” We find that, after adjusting for such an estimated number of missing storms, Statistical tests indicate that this trend is not significantly distinguishable from zero (Figure

The 12 year Hurricane dearth since 2006 is the longest in the 140 year record. The phraseology usefully illustrates that, as with ships, there are far more people and sophisticated equipment to observe significant weather events today than in the past . So it is remarkable that numerous records still exist to illustrate the often severe nature of historic weather even though, statistically, many more events must have occurred than we are aware of.

Floods -often associated with hurricanes and just as often associated with heavy rain or coastal flooding from high tides are undoubtedly a serious problem as so many people insist on living next to water. Should the weather of the past recur, this has obvious implications as the worst occurrences of floods appear not in modern times but historically, as those examining centuries long weather records- rather than modern satellite records –recognise.


Reply to  tonyb
November 17, 2019 6:06 am

Bloomberg is running an article today arguing that the pricing of the Aramco IPO was hurt by the fact that floods and storms “are becoming more severe, more frequent and causing more damage” than in the past. I emailed the author and pointed out to him that neither are becoming more severe or frequent and that the increased damage is a function of inflation and population growth in coastal areas. The false narratives just never end.

Reply to  Marc
November 17, 2019 6:32 am

So, will it be selling at a discount?

November 17, 2019 4:06 am

The fools are measuring economic and population growth, not hurricanes. You can’t fix stupid.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 17, 2019 4:58 am

Its not stupid. Its purposely dishonest. They what they are doing. The only way to make it appear to the masses that hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more severe is to use economic loss as opposed to the true numbers. Sham on them. Joe McCarthy would be proud.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 17, 2019 5:58 am

Indeed. The U.S. Gulf/Atlantic coast extends 3,500 miles.

‘it instead uses data on economic losses from hurricanes to arrive at conclusions about climate trends.’

Losses are largely a function of where in that 3,500 miles landfall is made. E.g., tropical storm Sandy did massive damage to New York City, even though it wasn’t even a hurricane at landfall.

A storm that hits Cedar Key is going to do less damage than one that hits Tampa.

Reply to  Gamecock
November 17, 2019 7:06 am

Depends on how you measure ‘coastline’. For example, using one approach, the state of Maine has over 3,000 miles of coastline. Bad data interpretation leads to bad results …

Reply to  Gamecock
November 17, 2019 9:44 am

When Sandy made landfall, it was not a tropical storm. It was an extratropical cyclone, and it was determined to have hurricane force sustained winds, but not over land. At the time Sandy made landfall, its strongest winds were south of the center (and over ocean), which often happens with strong extratropical cyclones over the Atlantic.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 17, 2019 9:28 pm

Sandy had lost its eye and thus lost its hurricane status by the time it made landfall.

November 17, 2019 4:29 am

It is interesting that the concept of cognitive dissonance was first verified on a doomsday cult in the 1960s. Cognitive dissonance means that we try to avoid having conflicting thoughts. If you think the world will end, and then someone gives you facts that could make you change your mind, you will try as hard as you can to stick to your belief to avoid thinking you had been wrong. Professor Festinger who discovered the concept, predicted that members of a doomsday cult would become more fanatic when the date of the end of the world passed. The preferred to protect their original belief, but needed to strengthen it in order to avoid the thought that they had been wrong all the time. So they believed more strongly after the world should have ended.
Now it seems like the same is happening with people who believe in catastrophic warming and climate change. Now that the earth has stopped heating for a decade, the start saying “it is much worse than we thought”
Suddenly they were wrong about the warming. It will be worse. (By the way, how can we know they are right now, since they admit that they make big mistakes in the estimates)
Luckily the doomsday thoughts finally burn out, but we can expect a period of more and more fantastic claims.

Reply to  Researcher
November 17, 2019 9:56 am

It seems to me that what you describe is what is happening. The stories on CBC and other politically corrected media have reached a level of hysterical shrillness that surely must precede the collapse of the AGW fantasy or the collapse of rational societies.

Reply to  BCBill
November 19, 2019 9:41 am

I’ve been noticing the same thing. The CBC, both radio and television, is increasingly featuring climate change alarm in its stories and interviews and appears to have tacitly adopted the BBC’s determination to present only the alarmist view. Nature programs have been sadly corrupted the same way and are hard for me to watch now. I’m even more troubled by the effect on youths.

Alan McIntire
November 17, 2019 4:34 am

I’m sure using deaths from hurricanes would be just as “valid” a measure as economic losses. So far, NO hurricane has come close to the one that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900, resulting in 8000 deaths.

Bob Vislocky
Reply to  Alan McIntire
November 17, 2019 5:22 am

Great point Alan.

Reply to  Alan McIntire
November 17, 2019 6:41 am

Technology has drastically improved our resiliency to withstand nature’s forces and gives us earlier warnings.

Reply to  Scissor
November 17, 2019 1:33 pm

“Technology has drastically improved our resiliency to withstand nature’s forces and gives us earlier warnings.”
You are absolutely right.

What you say does not, however, invalidate Alan McIntire’s point that 8000 died in one hurricane in 1900, and that death toll has [happily] not been matched since.

And the technology that you correctly identify as having improved our resiliency has been put into action, largely, by fossil fuels.
And, I suggest, invented, devised, and improved by people with the time and knowledge to do so, thanks to improved living conditions [thanks to fossil fuels, in very significant part].
And not a few of those improvements were made in the private sector.


Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Scissor
November 26, 2019 6:14 am

Scissor November 17, 2019 at 6:41 am

Technology has drastically improved our resiliency to withstand nature’s forces and gives us earlier warnings.

“Technology has” saved lives and Achleitner of Munich Re had to pay for insurance cases.

Now what has that to do with climate change.

Reply to  Alan McIntire
November 17, 2019 1:03 pm

Probably more valid. Number of deaths aren’t affected by inflation and are probanly more reliable than most other measures historically.

November 17, 2019 5:59 am

‘The ocean/atmosphere interaction in the area of Atlantic some distance off the NW African coast, where most of hurricanes are initiated’


Some storms form there during the Cape Verde Season. “Most” is completely wrong.

November 17, 2019 6:02 am

In the Australian region cyclones [hurricanes] are decreasing…

as are the numbers of intense or severe cyclones

This is not a particularly good thing for Australia as a lack of cyclones/hurricanes means a dryer and hotter Australia, especially in the northwest. NWly winds sweep down to the mid-east coast heating and drying it further. The current bushfires in eastern Australia are probably not caused by these weather conditions but are certainly exacerbated by them.

A postive Indian Ocean Dipole intensifies the drying effect on Australia

Where are those cyclones/hurricanes when you need them?

November 17, 2019 6:02 am

Facts don’t matter! Think of a Holy Book religion. The facts are the same for everyone. Try going to a priest/rabbi/preacher/imam whatever and say “What about this verse over here”. At first they will say something like ‘let me explain that’. If you persist your get a stern ‘that’s not what we believe’. If you want to be in the club you need to believe like everyone else, or at least say that you do. The problem that researchers and scientists face is that the liberal religion is so large and powerful that they don’t really have the ability to walk down the street to another ‘church’. The liberal church is now so powerful that, in the fine tradition of powerful ideologies everywhere, they now persecute heretics and enact anti-blasphemy laws. Truth has nothing to with it.

Reply to  Starman
November 17, 2019 6:53 am

Traditional religions have codes of ethics, commandments and rules. These are missing in the leftist church of today. End justifies the means. In fact, there rules are radical, as we all know.

I wonder whether the left is intentionally infiltrating and bringing down established institutions for their own purposes, e.g., to elevate the state as deity itself. Look at what they’ve done to the “Boy Scouts” for example.

Reply to  Scissor
November 17, 2019 10:48 pm

You mean “the long march through the institutions”?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Scissor
November 26, 2019 7:15 am


Traditional religions have codes of ethics, commandments and rules –> Traditional religions have keepers and censors, kinda secret service. Not to forget Sharia.

Reply to  Starman
November 19, 2019 9:52 am

I think you’re tainting liberalism unnecessarily. There’s no question that the left has been more susceptible to belief in increasing climate danger, but the socialist types (and the Greens, wherever they fit) are most afflicted with climate lunacy.

ferd berple
November 17, 2019 6:20 am

So if a hurricane comes ashore in an unpopulated area, it is not counted as a hurricane.

What the authors are really measuring is the increase in population in hurricane prone areas.

william matlack
November 17, 2019 7:30 am

Someone (possibly NOAA) earlier this year announced that they had already put together a list of seventeen names they would choose from when naming this hurricane seasons storms. Does anyone know if they have used up that list of names yet?w

Reply to  william matlack
November 17, 2019 9:39 am

The North Atlantic Basin storm name list has 21 names, not 17. 17 have been used, 4 are not yet used.

Reply to  william matlack
November 18, 2019 4:56 am

2005 was a freakish year for hurricanes, I know they got at least to Wilma, and they may have had to go to the alpha-beta-gamma system. There hasn’t been another year like it since.

Joel O’Bryan
November 17, 2019 9:19 am

”If the climate change alarmists aren’t lying, they aren’t trying.”
– me

The liars: But the real liar here isn’t one of the authors, it’s the NAS member at MIT who certainly must have known the paper was garbage but used his NAS membership in the Academy’s GOB club to push it through with a pal review.

“Author Information

Aslak Grinsteda,1, Peter Ditlevsena, and Jens Hesselbjerg Christensena.
Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen 2200, Denmark

Edited by Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved October 11, 2019 (received for review July 17, 2019)

Mark Jacobson’s fake engineering paper on wind and solar power viability was also pushed through the NAS’s GOB soft review process in a similar manner. We all know how that sordid affair went down after another group called them on in a rebuttal paper.

Of course all this happening now at PNAS in the environment of a corrupt NAS senior leadership as COP25 and AR6 are drawing closer. The climate data junk papers Science Mag published in 2015 leading up to COP 21 Paris Agreement had this same corrupt enabler at the editorial helm there.

Scientific ethics are being clubbed to death in a back alley by folks like her to push the alarmist climate narrative. That someone like Kerry Emanuel would participate in this ethical mugging should scare most scientists.

November 17, 2019 9:36 am

I suspect G19 counts post-1958 hurricanes that caused economic damage even if their centers did not pass over US land. There is the matter that G19 would show a rising trend because in earlier years considered by G19, parts of the US that get hurricanes were not developed and were immune to economic damage by hurricanes.

Jim G
November 17, 2019 10:22 am

It seems to me that a couple of metrics would be necessary for the creation of dataset that accounts for industry over the last 100 or more years.

One would be a $ loss per capita; as population density increases, so would the property exposed to potential destruction would increase.

Second would be loss per improved acre.
Land use has changed considerably over the last 100 years.
Ironically, some of our “improvements” has been the root cause of some of the flooding destruction
due to these hurricanes.

It is entirely possible that under both metrics, losses have declined over the centuries.
Of course, anything that might suggest that our lot in life is improving would be considered heresy.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jim G
November 17, 2019 2:45 pm

you would also need to use inflation-adjusted dollars of course

Joel O'Bryan
November 17, 2019 10:47 am

The name of the real criminal here is the NAS “editor” of the paper — the PNAS editor who selected the peer reviewers. He is someone who definitely knows about the things Roger identified. Instead of rejecting or correcting the manuscript, he apparently is key participant in this back-alley mugging of science ethics in climate science and further diminishment of PNAS as a respected voice for science.
And then there’s the current NAS President who been in the background of these (like Mark Jacobson’s fake engineering study). She was also present at Science Mag as Sr Editor during the 2015 period when junk science papers like Karl, et al’s Pause Buster paper were published prior to COP21.

November 17, 2019 11:33 am

Tell that to those poor cows on the Outer Banks! (their island overtopped by 7 feet)

careful, get the Vegans after you and it could get ugly. 🙂

November 17, 2019 1:47 pm

They must be more severe, people are saying they are more frightened.

November 17, 2019 3:59 pm

But hurricane season has been made longer; gotta get/keep those annual counts up.

November 17, 2019 11:42 pm

“That meant that one cannot, as ICAT has done, simply append the NCEI dataset from 1980 to the end of the P08 dataset starting in 1900. They are not apples to apples.”

But you haven’t turned tree rings and thermometers into apples so what would you know?

November 18, 2019 4:54 am

I live on the Gulf Coast. This hurricane season was basically a wash. I’ve lived here all my life – the only storm we have had for over ten years now was a weak storm, Isaac, which was notable mainly because it knocked out the electricity for days and we were hot and cranky. No home damage. No flooding.

November 18, 2019 7:56 am

I have an OT question, which is slightly related to this, if I may. There is a disturbance in the Atlantic right now, (it has been on the NHC map for a couple of days now), which has been upgraded to orange (50% chance of cyclone formation). The right up states the disturbance is generating 30 mph winds on it’s NE side.

If you look at the water vapor loop on the GOES-E Full Disk (Atlantic) though, and set the time to ma (240) and speed it up two notches, you’ll see that the entire area south of the disturbance and behind it is moving at speed equal to if not faster than the NE side of the disturbance. The winds on the North side of the disturbance are easterly too and moving quickly.

So my question is why attribute the 30 mph winds to the disturbance when it seems obvious the winds are attributable to the larger condition in the area? Heck, half the reason the disturbance is hardly moving west seems to be because of the more powerful easterly movement around it.

I’d appreciate a mini lecture if you folks would oblige.

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