Hurricane Ida and Global Warming: Unsupported Claims

From the Cliff Mass Weather Blog

It didn’t take long before the media “connected the dots” and made full-throated claims that Hurricane Ida was the stepchild of global warming.    

Even well-known TV weather personality Al Roker (who I very much admire) got into the act:“We are looking at the results of climate change … that’s what created this monster storm”

But it is easy to demonstrate that real data shows that these claims are without basis, and that National Public Radio, the Seattle Times, and others are publishing stories that are contradictory to the best science and observations.

The hypothesis in all these stories is that human-caused climate change warmed the temperatures of the sea surface (e.g., the Gulf of Mexico, tropical Atlantic) and thus “supercharged” Hurricane Ida.
Now the first thing that a responsible journalist would do regarding Ida would be to determine whether the Gulf of Mexico, where Ida developed, had significantly above-normal temperatures last week.
If that was true, then a reasonable journalist would check whether the warming was the result of a long-term trend–something required if human-caused global warming was significant. 
Apparently (as demonstrated below), most journalists did not take these basic steps before they wrote the stories.    But I will do so here!
Temperatures of the Gulf of Mexico
Keep in mind the track of Hurricane Ida, as illustrated by the official NOAA track information below.  The shading shows you the locations of tropical storm and hurricane-force winds.  The storm revved up to hurricane strength south of Cuba and really started to rev up north of 25N.

To get hurricane formation, one needs sea surface temperatures of at least approximately 27 °C, and virtually the whole Gulf of Mexico was at that levelwhich is typical for this time of the year.  
Below are the sea surface temperatures for the seven days immediately before Ida revved up and made landfall.  Temperatures of the whole route of the storm were way above the necessary threshold.  Warm water was no problem for development if Ida (29C and more pretty much the whole way).


Now, the million-dollar question:

How unusual were the Gulf sea surface temperatures during the strengthening of Hurricane Ida?   The figure below shows you the anomaly (or difference) from climatology (normal)  of the sea surface temperatures before Ida strengthened (Courtesy of Ryan Maue, previously NOAA Chief Scientist).
Wow.   The water temperatures were actually COOLER than normal where Ida started to intensify (south of Cuba).  Interestingly, this is due to the vertical mixing due to previous Hurricane Grace.   And for much the route north of Cuba, where Ida rapidly strengthened, temperatures were normal or slightly above normal (less than 1°C above normal).  Only near the coast, for the shallow waters of the Gulf shelf, did the temperatures climbed more than 1°C above normal.


The bottom line:  warmer than normal water was not the key to the development and intensification of Hurricane Ida.   The Gulf of Mexico is pretty much always warm enough to support the rapid strengthening of tropical disturbances.   
For Ida, there were some very favorable elements:  little vertical wind shear (which tears the storms apart) and a plume of very moist air that got ingested into the storm (see a map of integrated water vapor transport, IVT, below).

Sea Surface Temperature Trends
Even though the sea surface temperatures were not significantly warmer than normal for Ida, one might ask, has there been a significant upward trend in sea surface temperatures in the Gulf, one that might be indicative of a major global warming trend?
To give you some insight into this issue, here is a plot of August sea surface temperatures over the Gulf from 1983 to this year (click to expand).   Yes, there has been some warming over nearly 40 years….and yes, human-caused global warming could have been the cause…. but the warming is quite small–less than 1°C.

 I independently secured some NOAA sea surface temperature data over the Gulf of Mexico for a longer period (1948 to now) for the month of July and plotted it up below.  Not much a trend, with July 2021 being RELATIVELY COOL.  

A responsible journalist investigating the potential impact of global warming on Hurricane Ida SHOULD have examined the information noted above and would have found that the connection was very weak:  the sea surface temperatures were not very anomalous (warmer than normal) along the path of the hurricane and that there has been only a very minor upward trend in sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.
And a competent journalist should have also asked:  is there much evidence of an increasing trend of hurricanes reaching U.S. shores?  Something that should have occurred if global warming was significant.
Below is a plot of the number of landfilling hurricanes that have struck the continental U.S. (Courtesy Roger Pielke Jr).  The trendline is down.

Major hurricanes  (category 4 and 5)…the same thing.  No increase.

What a responsible journalist would conclude
A competent journalist doing a story on the relationship of global warming and Hurricane Ida would quickly have learned that:

  • Hurricane Ida did not develop over unusually warm water.
  • That the Gulf of Mexico is always warm enough to support major hurricanes in late summer.
  • There is only a very small warming trend of the Gulf of Mexico over the past half-century
  • There is no upward trend in the number of hurricanes striking the U.S.
  • There is no upward trend in the number of major hurricanes striking the U.S.

And the clear conclusion that would have been reached:  there is little reason to expect that global warming had much to do with the rapid intensification of the hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico.
Unfortunately, journalists at major media outlets from the NY Times, to the Washington Post, to the Seattle Times did not take the time to do the research needed to determine the truth.  And they published stories that seriously misinformed their readership.
Global warming is now used by incurious, politically oriented media to explain almost everything.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this recent headline in the Seattle Times, based on a NY Times article.  Profoundly disappointing.

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Jeff Alberts
August 31, 2021 10:49 pm

Bets on how long before Blogspot kicks Cliff off their platform. Hope he has everything backed up.

Jjk500
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 31, 2021 11:10 pm

Yes.
Cliff needs to migrate to Substack.

pigs_in_space
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 1, 2021 12:33 am

“In ertforshire, erefordshire and ampshire urricanes ardly ever appen.”

all we need now is an extratropical one to hit England and princess nut-nut will come out with the same dumb stories.

Let’s hope it comes with a big dump of snow in Scotland in November, so as they can claim the same human induced climate change as the USA.

fretslider
Reply to  pigs_in_space
September 1, 2021 1:37 am

Roughly once every three hundred years

Richard Page
Reply to  fretslider
September 1, 2021 5:28 am

Hurricane Ophelia in 2017, before that the hurricane of 1968. We get tornadoes, cyclones and high winds on a fairly regular basis, but these are the last 2 that are labelled as hurricanes.

fretslider
Reply to  Richard Page
September 1, 2021 7:40 am

I’m not talking about the weak leftovers.

You clearly are.

1703, 1987…. etc

The real deal.

Last edited 18 days ago by fretslider
August 31, 2021 11:16 pm

“here is a plot of August sea surface temperatures over the Gulf from 1983 to this year (click to expand).” This plot is missing or invisible (font changed to white?

Presumably the headline referred to at the end is the one at the start of the article. Slipped a bit?

Otherwise very good.

Chris Morris
August 31, 2021 11:38 pm

No doubt rent-a-mob will soon turn up claiming that Cliff shouldn’t use facts as they mislead the public and the 97% or whatever of the people who dream they are scientists know it can be attributed to climate warming/ emergency.
For my part, I think Cliff did a very good job showing the case for why it is not any different to all the other hurrcanes..

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chris Morris
September 1, 2021 9:55 am

I wish there was a forum to name and shame the CliSciFi practitioners that misinform the media each time there is a bad weather event. Maybe even some preemptive news releases warning the media about such charlatans.

Chaswarnertoo
September 1, 2021 12:00 am

Warmists cherry pick. Who’d a thunk it?

griff
September 1, 2021 12:17 am

Yes, just keep on explaining it away… meanwhile the 3 strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana were 1856, 2020 and 2021

Bill Toland
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 12:35 am

Griff, thank God that you didn’t cherry pick the data like concentrating on a single state to the exclusion of all other data. No, wait, you just did.

Last edited 18 days ago by Bill Toland
fretslider
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 1:43 am

Griff, what about the hurricanes that hit Canada?

To bed B
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 1:45 am

This is a ranking based the maximum sustained winds, all three were 150 mph.

“It was a tropical cyclone of small diameter, and its maximum sustained winds may have reached Category 5 status, but were unrecorded.” That was the 1856 hurricane that was nowhere near as well characterised as the last two. An 1893 Category 4 hurricane killed 2000 in Louisiana and is estimated to have only reached 130 mph but might have been stronger if measured by modern technology. Then there is the records

The only thing measured with any certainty is deaths. Katrina is the sole 21st C hurricane in the worst 30. Nine were 19th C despite the growth in population. A good correlation with use of fossil fuels per capita.

Charlie
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 2:00 am

You explain why these newspapers are printing fake news.

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 2:45 am

Camille, 1969, made landfall just east of LA, after having formed south of Cuba, like Ida.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Camille

Her pressure low was exceeded only by the 1935 record.

If global warming be responsible, why then the record drought in major land falling US hurricanes, 2006-16, inclusive? Matthew skirted FL in 2016, but didn’t come ashore.

Last edited 18 days ago by John Tillman
Thom
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 5:00 am

Yeah but she made landfall about 50 clicks from LA so………..

John Tillman
Reply to  Thom
September 1, 2021 6:20 am

Hancock County, MS is contiguous to LA, not 50 km away. It’s the southernmost county on the LA/MS border.

Bay St. Louis is 19 road miles from LA.

Last edited 18 days ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 6:47 am

Correction: Michael did make landfall on the US.

Citizen Smith
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 9:47 am

John Tillman- I can’t believe how you missed the cause of the hurricane drought. The science is so obvious. Those were Obama years.

John Tillman
Reply to  Citizen Smith
September 1, 2021 11:22 am

He made the same claim as Canute, but seriously.

Steve Z
Reply to  Citizen Smith
September 1, 2021 2:06 pm

Obama said he would stop the seas from rising. That didn’t help much when Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey (a very rare occurrence) in 2012, but Obama was re-elected about two weeks later anyway.

DD More
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 3:49 pm

John – “If global warming be responsible”, What about those other 60’s hurricanes to the region?

1860 – Three hurricanes hit the southeastern coast of Louisiana in 1860.
August 8-16 – a category 3 hurricane.
September 11 to 16 – category 2 hurricane
September 30 to October 3 – category 2 hurricane 14 days later.

According to Algore’s charts, wasn’t any Global Warming then.

Joao Martins
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 2:52 am

griff, now it is not some deficiency in your “3Rs”: this is gross mischievousness!

Sara
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 4:06 am

Griffpoo, you keep running your mouth with no facts to back up; what you say. Not a good sign. Pre-dementia dementia, perhaps? Are you wearing pants this morning, or did you forget that, too?

I’m quite concerned about your awareness of your surroundings. Please wear a jacket with little mirrors glued to it if you go out at night.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 6:09 am

Notice the cherry pick. It only wants to talk about hurricanes that hit Louisiana, which is only a small portion of the entire Gulf coast.
And the Gulf coast is only a small portion of the coasts where hurricanes can hit.
And only about half of hurricanes ever come ashore.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
September 1, 2021 6:46 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1935_Labor_Day_hurricane

Lowest pressure tropical cyclone ever recorded was Typhoon Tip, 1979, at the end of the postwar cool cycle. A colder world is a stormier world.

Lowest pressure North Atlantic hurricanes 900 mbar and lower):

Wilma, 2005 (epic season, because, weather)
Gilbert, 1988
Labor Day, 1935
Rita, 2005
Allen, 1980
Camille, 1969

Katrina (2005) hit 902 mbar.

Last edited 18 days ago by John Tillman
H. D. Hoese
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 7:46 am

Not long after the storm I examined the coastline on three of the last four, Camille with a little study because we had a field trip on the Chandeleurs the summer before. Katrina I only flew over and much later on land, if you can call much of the Louisiana coast land, which many still do. Also been in, close to, and run from many others.

The one obvious problem solving conclusion is that those in charge, with important exceptions, are still too much uneducated, or other failings, about their effect. It takes a great subsidy to live where they hit the coast and we have still been building where and how we shouldn’t. The FEMA report on Harvey pointed out a lot of dumb construction, some still occurring. I grew up inland and had to learn about these, didn’t take long, but can understand the ignorance, not the continuing lack of homework.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 8:03 am

A colder world is a stormier world.

BINGO! Yet they claim the opposite. Until the temperature “trend” reverses again, then they will suddenly “(re)discover” this fact.

John Tillman
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
September 1, 2021 8:31 am

The storm engine is differential between tropics and temperate zones. When warmer, there’s less latitudinal temperature difference, so fewer and weaker storms.

Little Ice Age hurricanes were more frequent and stronger than now.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-weather-hurricanes-study-idUSN2320536920070524

Hence all those Spanish treasure fleet sinkings. And Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Among those marooned on Bermuda by the 1609 storm which inspired the play was an ancestor of mine.

Ditto Pacific cyclones:

https://www.whoi.edu/press-room/news-release/study-reconstructs-ancient-storms-to-help-predict-changes-in-worlds-tropical-cyclone-hotspot/

And French Mediterranean storms:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222162138_Intense_storm_activity_during_the_Little_Ice_Age_on_the_French_Mediterranean_coast

Last edited 18 days ago by John Tillman
MarkW
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 12:59 pm

I thought about adding another line or two to bring in the Pacific and typhons, but I thought that would be piling on.

Dave Fair
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 9:58 am

Is that what you are getting from Meme Central, Trolling Device with the Griff persona? And what do actual statisticians say about such numbers? Ever hear about random groupings?

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 11:35 am

Katrina (2005) was a string Category 3.. Her lowest pressure ranks among the strongest Atlantic hurricanes. (See below.)

Also intense Rita hit the TX/LA border later that year.

Pressure is the best measure of stremgth. Winds aloft couldn’t be measured before aircraft.

David A
Reply to  griff
September 1, 2021 11:42 pm

1856? Wow, what no 24 7 satellite model of wind speeds, no hurricane hunters, no hurricane flights, no instrument drops into the eye wall and extrapolation of at loft wind speeds to the surface? Basically storm surge and Simpson scale observation damage yes? ( with those IDA was a class 3..

And all those hurricanes since 1856, what would there reading be with modern 24 hour surveillance and modeled readings?

So, even with modern 24 7 modeling and classification, the trend is slightly down.

Bryan A
Reply to  David A
September 2, 2021 2:15 pm

The worst Atlantic/Carribbean Hurricane was 1780. Scoured 9 islands barren, stripped bark from trees on numerous others and killed 24,000

Doonman
September 1, 2021 12:22 am

People who say and print things that are opposed to readily available data and observations are called what kind of people again?

Why, I was always taught that they are liars because they won’t tell the truth. The only other explanation is that they are morons.

MAL
Reply to  Doonman
September 1, 2021 8:25 am

Lazy and/or lairs. Maybe both.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  MAL
September 1, 2021 8:33 am

Liars in their lairs.

Climate believer
September 1, 2021 1:19 am

Even the IPCC says tropical cyclones will “either decrease or remain essentially unchanged”.

Storm in a teacup.

robin townsend
September 1, 2021 1:29 am
fretslider
Reply to  robin townsend
September 1, 2021 1:39 am

And that’s a surprise?

Auntie has a narrative to push.

Mark
September 1, 2021 1:40 am

Serious question.

isn’t the issue one of energy, rather than temperature? The author states there is a slight increase in SST (less than 1degC), suggesting that this is not sufficient to blame Ida’s severity on this.

but how much energy did this slight increase in temperature give to the storm.?

I agree with the general thrust of the article, and it is difficult to see any upward trend in frequency or severity of landfall tropical storms.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Mark
September 1, 2021 8:13 am

The “energy” comes not from increased “average” temperatures, but from bigger temperature differentials.

In a warming climate, and in particular in a climate supposedly warmed by an amplification due to an “enhanced greenhouse effect,” the temperature differentials will be shrinking, not growing, leading to less intense, not more intense, storms. Specifically, the temperature differential between the poles and the tropics shrinks (coldest and driest air masses (i.e., the poles) warm the most, tropics hardly change at all), and if the “enhanced greenhouse” nonsense was true, the upper atmosphere would warm more than the surface, which would reduce the temperature differential between the surface and the upper atmosphere.

The same claims regarding the weather becoming “more extreme” were made when the climate was coolingwhich should tell you this is pure propaganda, unless you are stupid enough to believe that there was some (conveniently unspecified) point when we were supposedly in some “climate nirvana,” any change from which in any direction would make the weather “more extreme.”

fretslider
September 1, 2021 1:40 am

Journalism is dead

Mr.
Reply to  fretslider
September 1, 2021 6:59 am

In the 1960s, journalism was my top career ambition.
Couldn’t pull it off.
But if I had, I’d now be a practitioner of a profession that rates below used car salesmen.
Think I dodged a bullet there.

Rusty
September 1, 2021 1:51 am

“A responsible journalist investigating” – there’s your problem right there. There are very few of those left.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rusty
September 1, 2021 8:16 am

I’m not sure there are ANY left, and if they are they will soon be run out on a rail by the anti-human, anti-US fascists.

September 1, 2021 1:59 am

I checked the NOAA station, buoy and ship reports for a radius of 150 miles centered on Grand Isle, Louisiana, all day Sunday, and could only find one wind speed reading above 100 knots. Where is the discrepancy between these wind gauge readings and the “150 mph winds” we saw on NOAA NHC bulletins and the media?

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Fernando L
September 1, 2021 4:23 am

Exactly, Fernando. Reviewing video of Grand Isle that should have received the brunt of the storm surge and very high winds, the damage is severe but not devastating. Wind damage only appears moderate and few structures appear seriously damaged by storm surge. Maybe they were storm-hardened, and maybe the sea wall mostly held, but a Hurricane of this alleged magnitude should have truly devastated the isle. It didn’t. They have experienced worse damage from even fairly recent hurricanes. So far, the media report only one person killed in the entire state.

News stories parrot the same tired “devastation”, Cat 4, 150 mph (not actually measured on the ground), then they get bored and move on to other “news” items. In one week, you’ll not see one factual follow-up story other than from local outlets.

The media stories keep trotting out a photo of an awning fallen from a building in the New Orleans French Quarter. I was watching early live coverage. That awning fell long before the weakened hurricane arrived, when sustained winds were still only moderate gale force. The live TV local weatherman in a mobile unit showed the awning and a large batch of National media crews standing in the street gawking at it.

Hey, Griff. It was a hurricane. People living on the U.S. Gulf Coast expect hurricanes, sooner or later. They are powerful and destructive storms, but they do not signal the end of the world. Folks repair and rebuild better, then move on with their lives. These storms often help clear the areas of old, dilapidated, or poorly built structures to make way for infusion of growth and investment. Galveston, for example, is a much-improved city in the aftermath of 2008’s Hurricane Ike.

For people living in Tornado Alley in the central U.S., the probability of being struck by an F3 to 5 is lower than hurricane risk on the Gulf Coast, but people have learned to prepare and mostly survive. Tornado activity in fact appears to be diminishing.

Oh, and this – IPCC’s worst and implausible projections for warming by the end of the century are the equivalent of moving from northern Iowa to southern Iowa. Ooh. Be scared, Griff. BOO!! Gotcha.

TheLastDemocrat
Reply to  Fernando L
September 3, 2021 6:02 am

How do you check ship reports?
Regarding the weather buoys, I have been doing that for a while and finding the same thing you have found: you cannot find sustained wind speed at 20 meters anywhere close to what news reports say.

Buoy data are preferred to measurements made by instruments measuring the storm high above the ground. Winds are always very strong high above the ground. Even on a calm day!

What tears the roof off of a building is the wind at ground level, or 20 meters above ground level!

John Garrett
September 1, 2021 2:39 am

THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!
× 1,000,000

I knew NPR was hyping Ida.

Loydo
September 1, 2021 4:04 am

“A responsible journalist investigating the potential impact of global warming on Hurricane Ida SHOULD have examined the information noted above and would have found that the connection was very weak: the sea surface temperatures were not very anomalous (warmer than normal) along the path of the hurricane and that there has been only a very minor upward trend in sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Mealy mouthed BS.

comment image?w=632

An honest journalist would point out that because the GOM SST has risen almost 1°C since 1980, that has increased the area >27°C – the area for hurricane genesis – by about 20%.
An honest journalist would point out that 1°C increase in SST adds 15 or 20 kts.

comment image

icisil
Reply to  Loydo
September 1, 2021 6:18 am

1°C increase in SST adds 15 or 20 kts

Their new technology used to model hurricane wind speeds almost certainly does so also.

John Tillman
Reply to  Loydo
September 1, 2021 6:26 am

DeMaria and Kaplan show maybe 10 kt for one degree C warmer water.

But as Dr. Cliff notes, she formed in cooler than normal water.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Loydo
September 1, 2021 6:39 am

So when Cliff Mass, a fellow AGW believer and highly qualified, veteran atmospheric scientist talks straight about alarmism and attribution on a specific event, loydumb trots out charts that are irrelevant to the facts at hand. We can’t have anyone, even believers, waver from the songbook of climate Armageddon. To quote Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon!”

Meab
Reply to  Loydo
September 1, 2021 7:50 am

LoyD’oh. Dishonest post. Hurricane Ida did not form in the average June to November Gulf conditions, it formed in August. Plot August conditions if you want to look for a trend, not your phony average over the whole hurricane season.. The first thing that you will see is the August temperature of the Gulf varies far more from year to year than the total trend has changed (up or down) during the entire century. An honest person (which you’re not) would then conclude that variations from year to year are more important than any trend. Dr. Mass pointed out that July 2021 was a much cooler than average year for GoM sea surface temps. July was the best available data as August wasn’t in yet.

You know all that, yet you choose to (fecklessly try to) deceive. Why? What’s in it for you?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Loydo
September 1, 2021 9:10 am

Maybe my eyes are going bad, but I would say your graph of temperature anomalies looks like a cyclical process. But I’m sure you could draw a straight line from beginning to end.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Loydo
September 1, 2021 10:31 am

Thanks for showing that Gulf of Mexico SSTs aren’t much different than the approximate 20-year period 1940-1960, Loydo. Pretty much as the article stated. And since SSTs have not risen by anywhere near 1 C, what’s your concern? Also note that everything shuts down at about 30 C.

Science 1, CliSciFi 0.

Steve E.
September 1, 2021 4:35 am

Clearly, there seems to be some confusion here. Terms like “responsible journalist” and “competent journalist” can’t possibly apply to Ministry of Propaganda organs like the NY Times, NPR or other mainstream media whose primary goal in any story is to support the narrative.

Kent Clizbe
September 1, 2021 5:35 am

Conclusion: “…journalists at major media outlets…did not take the time to do the research needed to determine the truth.”

This is why WUWT is maddening to regularly read.

Just this site alone has established, by way of daily examples and analysis, evidence from leaked emails, and many other sources, that PC-Prog journalists are members of “The Team” pushing fake “the sky is falling” “global warming is killing Gaia!” stories.

That fact is established. Well and truly. Clearly and fully.

Other facts have also been established, such as: climate “scientists” twist, torture, obscure, homogenize, adjust, hide, exaggerate, model badly, and otherwise misuse data and “science” in their quest to create more “science” to support their assertions that CO2 is deadly, man is pouring CO2 into the atmosphere, man-made CO2 is the worst, man-made CO2 causes horrible effects all across the universe, and that all good men must panic and destroy our economies on their command, and more. They then use the complicit media to spread and inflate their “science,” and they then use the media to attack and demonize anyone who questions their “science” and their panic.

Those facts are established. WUWT has been a vital link in establishing those facts. It’s long past time for WUWT to stop dancing around the established facts, with the tacit approach in each article that science is good, media is good, and this article will illustrate an unexpected anomaly.

WUWT articles should BEGIN with the established facts and build on them. A long, data-filled posting that results in the conclusion: “American media did not research the truth.” would be like the Wall St. Journal (3 years after Bernie Madoff died in prison serving time for the most heinous financial fraud in history) published a three column story analyzing Madoff’s “investment strategy,” concluding: “Madoff appears to have ignored standard investment principles.”

The Madoff article would BEGIN with Madoff’s fraud, and any analysis would be BASED on the fact that Madoff was a fraud. So, too should WUWT articles.

Duane
September 1, 2021 5:46 am

The author did a good job of summarizing some of the factors that affect hurricane formation and intensity, but there’s actually quite a few more factors to consider:

  1. The concentration of African dust in the middle to upper atmosphere … the more there is, the less favorable to hurricane formation and intensification. African dust tends to rise from the deserts of west Africa and move westward, just as do the tropical disturbances that form in the Atlantic just west of Africa. This year, as usual, the African dust content varied considerably over both time and area, forming moving plumes. So if a particular tropical cyclone forms in an area with low African dust concentration, as Ida did, then it tends to increase its intensity. This is an entirely random process, and has zero to do with global warming.
  2. The steering currents for tropical cyclones in the western Atlantic determine where the storms go, and the path of the storm travel determines the temperature of the water from which they gain moisture and energy. Like the African dust plumes, these steering currents are entirely random, moving from west to east, sometimes stalling, or moving north. Again, this phenomena has zero to do with global warming.

I imagine that there are many more factors that affect tropical cyclone formation and intensification that actual scientists are not yet familiar with.

In any case, it is silly to expect journalists to apply scientific principles to their reporting. That is like expecting a dog to not lick his nether parts, or expecting any other unlikely behavior from anyone.

Duane
Reply to  Duane
September 1, 2021 5:48 am

In other words, individual hurricanes are “weather”, not “climate”.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Duane
September 1, 2021 1:23 pm

“it is silly to expect journalists to apply scientific principles to their reporting”

Yes, all these Climate Change “journalists” do is pass on the latest climate change scare story. They don’t examine it critically. That’s not their job.

The propagandists now have this well organized with many journalists pumping out the propganda when another climate change scare story comes out. They have a central clearing house for climate change scare stories.

Ronald Stein
September 1, 2021 6:27 am

Can climate change be the cause on absolutely no hurricanes hitting Florida from 2005 to 2017!



The last hurricane to strike New England was Bob in 1991, 30 years ago. As a result, at present, despite modest warming New England is currently experiencing the second longest period in recorded history without a hurricane making landfall in the region.

Jim Berry
September 1, 2021 6:59 am

Good article but it would have been better if the statement that 1 degree C warmer sea surface temperature is insignificant was backed up with some data.

September 1, 2021 9:00 am

The bottom line: warmer than normal water was not the key to the development and intensification of Hurricane Ida.” 
” The storm revved up to hurricane strength south of Cuba and really started to rev up north of 25N.”

However the data you provided showed that the surface temperature was above normal along the whole route from 25N until landfall so it’s a reasonable inference that “warmer than normal water” was a “key to the intensification of Hurricane Ida”

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Phil.
September 1, 2021 1:27 pm

I guess you didn’t catch the part about a previous hurricane reducing the temperatures over Ida’s path.

We ought to compare the sea temperatures before Ida passed to the sea temperatures after ida passed onto land. Hurricanes are hugh heat pumps. They take warmth out of the oceans and put it up into the atmosphere. That’s their job.

Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2021 12:12 pm

Isn’t “responsible journalist” an oxymoron?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2021 1:27 pm

It is in today’s world, with a few exceptions.

Steve Z
September 1, 2021 2:33 pm

The graphs or figures don’t show up in the article.

The warm-mongers are always quick to blame “global warming” any time a strong hurricane hits the USA (or any major weather event, including tornados, floods, or droughts). But if there are a few seasons with comparatively few storms, nobody in the press is out celebrating–they’re just writing about something else.

While we all hope that Louisiana can recover as quickly as possible from the damage from Ida, it should also be noted that the east coast of Florida and the Carolinas have not had a single tropical storm of any strength so far this year.

Reply to  Steve Z
September 3, 2021 12:49 am

For some reason, they did for me the first time, in quite a long time.

Easy fix – hammer the F5 key several times. (Or refresh in whatever way your non-standard browser uses.)

davetherealist
September 1, 2021 3:05 pm

https://www.yahoo.com/news/climate-change-is-causing-more-weather-disasters-report-finds-180533799.html It would appear that the MSM is at their misinformation campaign again

September 1, 2021 10:44 pm

Actually it’s not warm water (>26C) that causes hurricanes but patches of warm water. They need a turning moment to generate the turning, whereas if the ocean was uniformly warm there would be none.

You will notice the winds passed directly over the Haiti 14Aug21 Mag 7.1 earthquake, releasing a great deal of heat from the sea-floor, which then made its way to the surface, waiting for a suitable wind/storm to be attracted to its warm water which was hanging around – forming Ida 01Sep21).

Unless Man can influence earthquakes, Man has nothing to do with hurricanes, etc.

Jim Whelan
September 2, 2021 9:08 am

Unfortunately, journalists at major media outlets from the NY Times, to the Washington Post, to the Seattle Times did not take the time to do the research needed to determine the truth.

Not out of laziness. They don’t care to publish the truth and want to promote the scare narrative.

TheLastDemocrat
September 3, 2021 5:54 am

This morning, Sep 03, Al Roker was covering the flooding, and blamed it on Global Warming. This is how: he noted, and they had a graphic posted, that for every one degree Celsius higher the average temp, the atmosphere could hold 7 percent more water.

So, I guess the logic is: more water in the air = more fuel for Ida and other hurricanes.

Altogether, his comment is too brief to form an analysis of his claim. The hurricane came ashore, and obviously get demoted, but it did continue on as a storm and dropped a lot of water. I believe for his claim to be true, that it is a temp increase that has caused this rainfall and flooding, we would both have to have had atmosphere temps higher than usual in recent days, to achieve the water vapor for the storm to draw upon in a manner that is an anomaly.

So, what are reasonable explanations for this storm to survive so long and drop so much water? Is it true that there was more water than usual in atmosphere from LA to NJ? Were temps along this path at least a degree higher in order to be holding that moisture?

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