Guest Essay by Kip Hansen — 29 May 2022
National Public Radio is one of the chief purveyors of biased information about climate and climate-related issues in the United States. Their Editorial Narratives for all topics falling under the classification “Climate” or “Environment” are strictly aligned with various UN organization official positions and pronouncements, recommended policies and closely tied to their publicly declared goals (which are autocratic and not democratic) and NPR’s information sources are often extreme activist groups and activist NGOs. As far as I can tell in my many years of reporting on science, health and environment, NPR climate and environment journalists have yet to produce a single unbiased report. In today’s cancel-culture society, I don’t blame them – if any one of them fell out of lock-step with their fellows, they would be shamed, dismissed and never work in progressive media again.
The latest example is from Rebecca Herscher: “Rebecca Hersher (she/her) is a reporter on NPR’s Science Desk, where she reports on outbreaks, natural disasters, and environmental and health research.” She wrote the piece: “Get ready for another destructive Atlantic hurricane season” heard on May 24, 2022” on All Things Considered.
There will be more hurricanes and tropical storms than usual during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, federal forecasters warn.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 14 to 21 total storms will grow large enough to be named. Of those, forecasters expect 6 to 10 hurricanes, 3 to 6 of which will have sustained wind speeds above 110 miles per hour.
If the forecast is correct, this will be the seventh year in a row with an above-average number of storms – by far the longest streak in recorded history. The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, though storms sometimes form outside those dates.
Some of those ingredients are unrelated to human-caused global climate change. For example, the natural climate variation known as La Niña has been happening for multiple years, and it drives ocean and wind conditions that support the formation of tropical storms in the Atlantic.
But many of the other ingredients for a destructive hurricane season are related to human-caused climate change. Hotter ocean water and hotter air create perfect conditions for hurricanes to form, and to get large and destructive. And sea level rise exacerbates flooding when storms hit land.“
NPR’s Herschel repeatedly uses the word “destructive” in her report and says that forecasters “warn” as if it was part of NOAA’s annual hurricane season outlook. But, here is NOAA’s actual statement:
“Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.”
I have put last year’s prediction alongside this coming season’s prediction. More or less the same, with a slight 5% increase in chances of an “above average” season (at the 70% confidence level). NOAA’s prediction was pretty close: There were 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), including seven hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater) of which four were major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
This year’s prediction is basically: More of the Same.
NOAA has added one more Named Storm than last year and the possibility of one more Major Hurricane. Why?
“The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon. An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons. The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists.”
In the greater scheme of things, we know that the increase in the number of named storms over the last couple of decades is the result of better detection methods, using satellites and radars to detect storms at sea that would have previously been missed and not counted.
Are hurricanes getting more frequent and stronger?
Not according to the real world data complied by Dr. Ryan Maue:
None of the above data indicate that Global or Northern Hemisphere Hurricanes are getting more frequent or more powerful. Major Hurricane Frequency is in a long-term tight band, and currently on the low side—lowest since 1987. Accumulated Cyclone Energy is flat and at the levels last seen in the 1970s and 1980s. (Some smaller storms may have not been counted in the two earlier decades). Finally, both global tropical cyclones and global hurricane frequencies are long-term flat over a 50 year period.
There is no indication that tropical cyclones or hurricanes, either globally or in the Northern Hemisphere, are increasing in number or intensity.
When NOAA advises the general public to prepare in advance and know their true risks, they are acting correctly, doing their jobs.
When NPR tries to spin extra terror into the hearts of the public by spinning NOAA’a annual hurricane outlook into something just a little scarier, they are failing at their jobs as journalists.
That said, tropical cyclones and hurricanes are highly energetic weather phenomena – they contain incredible amounts of energy and, translated to wind power, can be destructive. I have sat out direct hits from hurricanes twice on our sailboat – luckily an older heavily-Southhampton-built 40-ft catamaran. It is an awe-inspiring and terrifying experience.
If you live in a locality prone to hurricane strikes, know your actual risk and plan accordingly – prepare early when the occasion arises. Far better to be too prepared than not prepared enough.
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One needs only to visit one Caribbean Island that has suffered a direct Atlantic hurricane hit to understand just how powerful they can be. The silly Weather Channel reporter standing on a rainy windy street does not convey the true risk – in fact, it makes hurricanes look like something exciting and fun. That is irresponsible TV journalism. If you are in an active hurricane, stay safely indoors in a structurally sound hurricane -proofed building. Don’t mess around outside.
Hyping up natural phenomena to promote the Climate Crisis and its policy demands to intentionally panic the people is, in my opinion, criminal in the sense of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
There are dangers in our world, one of them is hurricanes, especially for localities that have foolishly built advanced seaside cities with billions of dollars of infrastructure at elevations of less than ten feet above normal high tides – and many of those on ephemeral sand bars. Think Miami, Florida or Atlantic City, NJ. The answer is not panic, but better planning, foresight, and mitigation of know risks.
Thanks for reading.
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