Increasing Hurricane Intensity Study Fatally Flawed

Reposted from Not A Lot Of People Know That

JANUARY 30, 2021

By Paul Homewood

Last May this story was being widely covered:

image

Stronger, deadlier and more frequent — that’s the trend scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have seen in the past few decades, and they expect that trend to continue in the years to come, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and NOAA analyzed satellite data of tropical cyclones over the last 40 years and found category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes were becoming increasingly common, CNN reported. Decade after decade, the likelihood of major global storms has increased, according to CNN.

“The change is about 8% per decade. In other words, during its lifetime, a hurricane is 8% more likely to be a major hurricane in this decade compared to the last decade,” James Kossin, author of the study, told CNN.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article242827051.html

The statistician William Briggs published a rebuttal on his website this week, which was written by Greg Kent and attacked the statistical basis of the Kossin study. You can read it here.

The study looks at the period 1979 to 2017, and compares 1979-1997 with 1998-2017

Kent makes one crucial observation, without realising its true significance:

The pervasive erroneous calculations in the original paper and the invalid claim of statistical significance are not the only issues with Kossin et al. There is also reason to question whether the 10% increase in the proportion of major hurricane force winds was a global or largely regional phenomenon. Kossin et al presented results for each of the hurricane basins around the world. The data shows that the global results are driven largely by a single basin, the North Atlantic. The proportion of major wind speeds increased by 72% in the North Atlantic, far more than in any other hurricane basin. Western Pacific, which accounts for over 40% of the major hurricane force winds over the last 4 decades, showed a smaller proportion of intense storms in the later period (indicating a negative change). The other basins either showed no change at all between periods or the change was so small as to fail tests of statistical significance at traditional levels of confidence.

There is actually a very good reason why there have been more intense hurricanes since 1998 than before – the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO. Here’s what NASA have to say about the AMO:

image

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/faq/amo_faq.php

The AMO was in cold phase between 1979 and 1995, and has been warm ever since. So the increase in hurricane intensity has nothing whatsoever to do with “climate change”, and instead is a consequence of natural ocean cycles.

In any other field of science, peer review would have spotted this fatal flaw in Kossin’s paper, which would never have been published.

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Ron Long
January 31, 2021 2:14 am

When the AMO goes into a cold phase, which is due and maybe underway, what will the CNN/CAGW/sky is falling crowd say? Something like our efforts to save the planet are working? For sure they won’t say that the climate of the earth is not only complex but a bit chaotic.

Vuk
Reply to  Ron Long
January 31, 2021 2:21 am

As expected, we are in another centenary deep solar minimum nearly 3 years long, comparable to those in the early 19th and early 20th centuries. Whatever climate scientists say its effect on the climate should not be discounted.
http://www.vukcevic.co.uk/SSN-3-minima.htm

John Tillman
Reply to  Ron Long
January 31, 2021 2:55 am

Complex, chaotic and cyclic.

Vuk
Reply to  John Tillman
January 31, 2021 3:28 am

A bit like Riemann Zeta Functioncomment image
(The Riemann zeta function ζ(s) is a function of a complex variable s = σ + it. for any sane person it is not recommended to go any further)

Last edited 6 months ago by Vuk
Ron Long
Reply to  Vuk
January 31, 2021 4:25 am

That’s clever, Vuk, but I can see the unicorn hidden in there.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Ron Long
January 31, 2021 8:25 am

Not sure what you are looking at Ron, there are clearly 2, sitting at a table, playing cards, smoking cigars

BobM
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
February 1, 2021 9:08 am

Sipping brandy.

Scissor
Reply to  Ron Long
January 31, 2021 8:44 am

Looks like a kind of swab target to me.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Scissor
January 31, 2021 9:30 am

The Chinese type.

David Hartley
Reply to  Vuk
January 31, 2021 4:57 am

‘for any sane person it is not recommended to go any further’ has me chuckling now and will have me chuckling all day.

MarkW
Reply to  Ron Long
January 31, 2021 7:34 am

When the number of hurricanes drop, so will the issue.
The claims of increasing tropical storms will be completely memory holed and anyone who brings up these earlier claims, will be declared to be either a liar or delusional.
The same way those who point to all the claims during the 70’s regarding global cooling are being treated.

Last edited 6 months ago by MarkW
Dave Fair
Reply to  Ron Long
January 31, 2021 9:29 am

They will just change the period cherry pick.

Steve Case
January 31, 2021 2:39 am

A few quotes copied off the internet (so they must be true)

“We have to offer up scary scenarios… each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.” -Stephen Schneider, lead IPCC author, 1989

“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” -Paul Watson, Co-Founder of Greenpeace

“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” -Sir John Houghton, first ipcc chair, 1994

“Only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention.” -Monika Kopacz, Atmospheric Scientist

“The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.” -Daniel Botkin, ex Chair of Environmental Studies, UCSB

And of course:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H. L. Mencken

Well some of them I know to be true, and they go a long way to explaining what’s going on in the world.

Climate believer
Reply to  Steve Case
January 31, 2021 3:30 am

Post truth politics, we’re in it up to our necks.

Vuk
Reply to  Climate believer
January 31, 2021 3:49 am

I’d say we have entered the PNW (post normal world) era.

RickWill
Reply to  Steve Case
January 31, 2021 3:56 am

This is why it is so important that the I am very clear that the Earth’s temperature is thermostatically controlled. It has not changed in the past millennia and not not change in the next millennia.

There is a bit of noise that is irrelevant to climate. The energy balance is tightly controlled to achieve a sea surface temperature range from -2C to 30C. The average global surface mean will never stray far from the numeric mean of the two extremes.

If there is a global surface temperature trend within a timescale of a hundred years then that indicates a faulty measurement system.

Climate is stuck where it is for a long time to come.

Dave Fair
Reply to  RickWill
January 31, 2021 9:34 am

The globe, on average, has been warming for about 300 years. Prove me wrong.

RickWill
Reply to  Dave Fair
January 31, 2021 1:36 pm

There is no temperature record that could possibly show the average surface temperature has increased over the last 300 years. I know for certain that the all three tropical oceans have warm pools within a degree of 30C for the last millennia. I know that sea ice at -2C has existed at the extremity of the three oceans that span the tropics for the last millennia. That means the average surface temperature for the last millennia will be close to 14C.

There is an indication of ocean thermal expansion. That indicates the oceans have gained heat but it does not follow that the surface temperature has changed because the thermal inertia of the oceans is enormous and the surface is warmer than below so no one knows when thermal equilibrium is reached.

Show me a dataset that indicates otherwise and I will show you its errors.

Dave Fair
Reply to  RickWill
January 31, 2021 8:09 pm

I weep. I’m done.

saveenergy
Reply to  Steve Case
January 31, 2021 8:35 am

“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” -Paul Watson, Co-Founder of Greenpeace “

That’s when Greenpeace stopped being green or peaceful

commieBob
January 31, 2021 5:02 am

Last sentence in the story above:

In any other field of science, peer review would have spotted this fatal flaw in Kossin’s paper, which would never have been published.

Here’s a line from today’s Judith Curry story:

There’s very few universities that have good programs in climate dynamics at this point. And you don’t see a lot of students in those research groups, they rather do the sexier, easier climate model taxonomy studies.

Most people are too lazy, or stupid, to do hard stuff. The universities make money selling a service to students. For them, anything that decreases the number of students is bad. I leave it to you as an exercise to figure out the consequences.

What we have these days is the illusion of education. The big problem is that it promotes overconfidence in the graduates. They think they are competent and they think their fellow graduates are competent. It explains a lot about the Democrat party.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  commieBob
January 31, 2021 5:39 am

I would add the following from the study:

“Kossin et al attempted to supply some wiggle room by adding two extra decimal places to their confidence intervals shown in Table 1 of the Correction.”

It is literally a crying shame that the use of significant figures is no longer being taught in university level science.

“What are we to make of the errors in the paper and the Correction? After all, Dr. Kossin is one of the leading hurricane scientists in the world and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is no slouch outfit. If fundamental errors can occur in a paper like this, then apparently no scientific paper is infallible. To anyone who has been paying attention, it’s clear that science in general, and climate science in particular, needs better quality control. Fifteen years ago, Stephen McIntyre sounded the alarm that climate science desperately needed an audit, but sadly not much has changed. The traditional peer review process, in which reviewers generally don’t look at code or actually reperform analysis, isn’t up to the task of ensuring that the results are correct before they are published. We live in a time when “science” is the new religious dogma and skepticism, once a sine qua non of scientific inquiry, is denounced and vilified as “denialism.” In such a context, it is more important than ever that “science” get it right. Too often, it doesn’t.”

Peer review fails so often today because the reviewers seem to have so little training in basic, fundamental, physical science tenets. Again, it is literally a crying shame.

” It is unfortunate that the Post reporter failed to check whether Kossin’s interview matched the findings in the paper.”

Even worse than the decline in scientific rigor in studies associated with the climate today is the complete ignorance of the press reporting on such studies. The prime journalism rules of understanding what you are reporting on and of checking your facts are dead. Dead and gone. Kaput. Fini. Is it any wonder that the press today is held in such low regard?

D Boss
Reply to  Tim Gorman
January 31, 2021 6:37 am

So called science has been rife with dogma for a LONG time… It has more Dogma and Doctrine than the Roman Catholic Church. It’s simply become really really obvious of late, and is in a downward spiral away from so called objective enlightenment.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Tim Gorman
January 31, 2021 7:37 am

Another problem with peer review is that it is an entirely voluntary undertaking. Because reviewers get no compensation, taking time away from primary tasks that do is not feasible. Replicating the work in a paper that would require months of effort isn’t going to happen. Many journals are hard pressed to find reviewers that have the time to read a paper just a single time and look for obvious errors, let alone chasing down all the references.

Dave Fair
Reply to  commieBob
January 31, 2021 9:39 am

There is no money in studying climate dynamics. There is loads of money in “We have to offer up scary scenarios…”

pHil R
January 31, 2021 5:27 am

Here’s what NASA NOAA have to say about the AMO:

Reply to  pHil R
January 31, 2021 7:38 am

There is no link…..

MarkW
Reply to  Krishna Gans
January 31, 2021 11:12 am

The above post is a quote from the article. pHil R is making the claim that the quoted text should reference NOAA, not NASA.

Last edited 6 months ago by MarkW
pHil R
Reply to  Krishna Gans
January 31, 2021 12:54 pm

Yes, sorry. Mark W is right, I could have been a little clearer.

Climate believer
January 31, 2021 5:30 am

The Bay of Bengal shows no increase in Tropical cyclones either.

Number of cyclones BOB.png
Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
January 31, 2021 5:34 am

Downward trend

Yearly number of TC
Coach Springer
January 31, 2021 6:42 am

Need to have an honest reconciliation with reports that seasonal accumulated energy has been (mostly?) unchanged. And it needs to be at the article level, not buried in Comments.

Charlie
January 31, 2021 6:56 am

The Kossin at al get out clause.

Ultimately, there are many factors that contribute to the characteristics and observed changes in TC intensity, and this work makes no attempt to formally disentangle all of these factors. In particular, the significant trends identified in this empirical study do not constitute a traditional formal detection, and cannot precisely quantify the contribution from anthropogenic factors.

I bet that didn’t feature in any media reports.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Charlie
January 31, 2021 9:55 am

Typical CliSci weasel words: “… cannot precisely quantify the contribution from anthropogenic factors.” They have provided nothing to quantify any contribution from anthropogenic factors. There are no data showing anthropogenic factors in hurricane formation and development. More lies by insinuation.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Charlie
January 31, 2021 6:32 pm

And to “formally disentangle all of these factors” will require further research. More funding. Job security.

Gordon A. Dressler
January 31, 2021 7:57 am

Great article, Paul Homewood (and kudos to Greg Kent), but I take issue with your concluding statement: “In any other field of science, peer review would have spotted this fatal flaw in Kossin’s paper, which would never have been published.”

Methinks you place too much faith in what nowadays constitutes “peer review”.

Ben Vorlich
January 31, 2021 9:10 am

Did anyone apart from Paul Homewood spot the correlation between the AMO and huricane intensity? Even Greg Kent who did the statistics appears to have missed it.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
February 2, 2021 6:31 am

Kent did not miss anything. Read his paper:

“The cut-off year between Kossin et al’s two periods (1997/1998) occurs within a year or two of a flip of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) from a cool period to a warm period, and it is widely known that the AMO has a substantial impact on the intensity of North Atlantic basin tropical cyclones.

“Because Kossin et al’s increase in the proportion of major storms is driven largely by the North Atlantic basin, and the intensity of North Atlantic basin storms are largely driven by a natural variability, two inevitable conclusions result: (1) the observed global shift to higher intensity winds may be merely temporary and will likely reverse when the AMO flips to a cool phase in the next few years and (2) the affect observed by Kossin et al has not been shown (and likely cannot be shown) to be caused by human-influenced global warming.”

David Riser
January 31, 2021 2:14 pm

It is worth noting that the National Hurricane Center, which forecasts and measures hurricanes in the Atlantic started using instantaneous wind (averaged over 1 sec) speeds to assign category and maximum sustained wind speeds. This is due to increased use of surface radar instruments in hunter aircraft which only fly into Atlantic storms. This started about 10 years or so ago (whenever the current director took over). There is a very good chance that a 73% increase is man made up.

Reply to  David Riser
January 31, 2021 2:42 pm

Great points. This “increasing” trend was also discussed in a recent article by Neil Frank … “How Busy Was the 2020 Hurricane Season.” I too have noticed this “politically” motivated trend to “name” storms whenever and wherever possible. Those aircraft radiometers (SFMRs) are calibrated to error on the high side — I wonder why. Also, land-based Doppler radars are now being used to clock surface winds out over the water — which are suspect when you consider earth curvature — and thus those higher winds are no longer at the surface.

David A
Reply to  John Shewchuk
February 2, 2021 8:01 am

The distance between any recorded ground speeds and radiometer and Doppler readings has grown considerably. Ground level damage observations seldom match hurricane intensity assignments. Tide storm surge observations are often considerably lower then tide storm surge predictions.

Andre Thomas Lewis
January 31, 2021 4:21 pm

The Australian Bureau of Metrology (BOM) plays this game also. Typical is this year with below average temperatures across the East Coast and a significant monsoon season in the far north. Some tropical lows off the coast driving lots of rain often intensify and are flagged across all the media as a “potential cyclone” even though hundreds of kilometres from any land. They must use satellite images or some other method to estimate wind speeds in the low and as soon as anything over 100 kph shows up for a few hours they name it a cyclone. Usually these die out with hours or a few days after wandering around offshore so not an issue for anyone. BUT when they do their BOM reports for the previous year we get the “increasing number of cyclones” meme with a list on new cyclone names.

Jeff Reppun
February 1, 2021 1:46 pm

NOAA has complete distain for quality control on much of the science they promote.
Someone needs to challenge them on there complete disregard to OMB quality assurance requirements.

Reply to  Jeff Reppun
February 1, 2021 7:07 pm

Why doesn’t the AMS lead the charge to clean up climate alarmism?

February 2, 2021 6:24 am

Kent’s brilliant analysis clearly realized the significance of the AMO. Just a few lines after the paragraph you quote, he writes: “The cut-off year between Kossin et al’s two periods (1997/1998) occurs within a year or two of a flip of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) from a cool period to a warm period, and it is widely known that the AMO has a substantial impact on the intensity of North Atlantic basin tropical cyclones.” And later: “Because Kossin et al’s increase in the proportion of major storms is driven largely by the North Atlantic basin, and the intensity of North Atlantic basin storms are largely driven by a natural variability, two inevitable conclusions result: (1) the observed global shift to higher intensity winds may be merely temporary and will likely reverse when the AMO flips to a cool phase in the next few years and (2) the affect observed by Kossin et al has not been shown (and likely cannot be shown) to be caused by human-influenced global warming.”

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