Wrong, The Conversation, Evidence Shows People Are NOT Under Greater Threat from Hurricanes

From ClimateREALISM

By H. Sterling Burnett

A recent article in The Conversation suggests, based on new evidence of past hurricane frequencies, that coastal areas and islands in the Atlantic Hurricane basin could be facing a dire future involving greater threat from hurricanes. This seems an odd claim since the evidence the article provides indicates that during the recent period of warming hurricanes are less frequent than they have been in the past, with the most intense periods of hurricane activity occurring when seas were cooler. Indeed, the data shows hurricanes were more frequent during multiple periods over the past approximately 2,000 years, than they are at present, all when carbon dioxide levels were much lower than today. This fact suggests there is no causal connection between carbon dioxide concentrations and hurricane formation.

In The Conversation story, “We’re decoding ancient hurricanes’ traces on the sea floor – and evidence from millennia of Atlantic storms is not good news for the coast,” the author, Tyler Winkler, correctly notes:

[The 2022 hurricane season provides] a reminder that small sample sizes can be misleading when assessing trends in hurricane behavior. There is so much natural variability in hurricane behavior year to year and even decade to decade that we need to look much further back in time for the real trends to come clear.

Fortunately, hurricanes leave behind telltale evidence that goes back millennia.

Two thousand years of this evidence indicates that the Atlantic has experienced even stormier periods in the past than we’ve seen in recent years.

The evidence Winkler is discussing is borehole cores containing sediment and shell deposits found in coastal marshes, sink holes, and ponds from various locations on the Atlantic coast and various islands.

What the Winkler’s data shows is that over the past 2,000 years, decadal data show hurricanes, including strong hurricanes, often occurred more frequently in the past than in the present, during periods of both higher and lower temperatures.

“For example, Thatchpoint Blue Hole on Great Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas includes evidence of at least 13 hurricanes per century that were Category 2 or above between the years 1500 and 1670,’ reported Winkler. “That significantly exceeds the rate of nine per century documented since 1850.”

Winkler’s data clearly demonstrates that there have been multiple periods in the past, when carbon dioxide concentrations were much lower than at present, when hurricane frequency and severity was greater. This conclusion is confirmed in every core sample from every location. (see the graphic below)

Comparing paleohurricane records from several locations shows periods of higher frequency. The highlighted periods cover the Little Ice Age, a time of cooler conditions in the North Atlantic from 1300 to 1850, and the Medieval Warm Period, from 900 to 1250. Tyler Winkler

In every sample, the evidence suggest that time the period which produced the greatest number of hurricanes were multiple decades in the middle and towards the end of the little ice age. Despite his own research indicating natural factors, not anthropogenic climate change, have driven hurricane cycles throughout history Winkler writes, that the evidence “tells coastal oceanographers like me that we may be significantly underestimating the threat hurricanes pose to Caribbean islands and the North American coast in the future.”

It is unclear what Winkler’s stated fear is based on. Indeed, alternative sources of data and other research confirms that factors, some of which Winkler discusses, like wind shear and multi-decadal oceanic oscillations in ocean currents, not warmer temperatures are responsible for the rise and fall in hurricane incidences.

For example, Climate Realism has published dozens of posts, like herehere, and here, exploring the factors that drive hurricanes and demonstrating there is no evidence they have become or are likely to become more frequent or severe in the near future, based on our current understanding of hurricane dynamics. Also, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report finds no evidence the modest warming that the Earth has experienced since the end of the little ice age around 1850 has impacted hurricane patterns or that there is any “human fingerprint” on hurricane numbers or intensity.

Rather than warning of a grave future due to climate changes’ model projected impacts on future hurricane cycles, Winkler should trust what his own data and research show. It provides no evidence that human energy use is having any effect on the formation of hurricanes or their relative power when they form.

Winkler is right to warn that hurricanes pose a danger to coastal areas in the Atlantic basin, but this is something everyone already knows. It is equally clear, that modern settlement patterns and population growth near coastal areas prone to hurricanes have contributed to greater numbers of people and associated infrastructure being impacted when hurricanes strike. It is good to be prepared and take steps to minimize the devastating impact hurricanes often have on society.

Efforts to control climate change by limiting the use of life sustaining fossil fuels will do nothing to either prevent hurricanes from forming or to reduce the harm when they occur. Rather policies restricting fossil fuel use will make minimizing the negative impacts of hurricanes harder.

H. Sterling Burnett

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland’s Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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Editor
December 4, 2022 2:17 am

Here’s the analysis of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season:

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2022/12/04/atlantic-hurricane-season-2022/

Scissor
Reply to  Paul Homewood
December 4, 2022 7:17 am

Regardless of hurricane trends, I wonder about the 100 story building under construction in Miami. First, it will look like a bunch of stacked blocks ready to fall.

I hope the engineers get it all right.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/miamis-first-supertall-tower-breaks-ground-11667307538

Oldseadog
December 4, 2022 2:37 am

If Winkler’s graphs show you that his work proves that TRSs are decreasing in number, maybe you are reading them upside down.
Shirley he can’t be doing that, can he?

It has been done before ….. .
S/.

climategrog
December 4, 2022 2:39 am

Efforts to control climate change by limiting the use of life sustaining fossil fuels will do nothing to either prevent hurricanes from forming or to reduce the harm when they occur.

But the aim of UN IPCC is not to control climate , it is to control YOU.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  climategrog
December 4, 2022 6:24 am

“A VISION FOR AN EQUITABLE AND JUST CLIMATE FUTURE”
https://ajustclimate.org/

strativarius
December 4, 2022 3:34 am

“”coastal oceanographers like me””

There is a name for them….

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  strativarius
December 4, 2022 4:56 am

LOL, “coastal oceanographers.” Sounds like an oxymoron, like “rock climbing acrophobe.”

strativarius
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 4, 2022 5:55 am

Rock pool swatter seems more like it

John V. Wright
December 4, 2022 3:47 am

It’s quite odd this disconnect between what Tyler Winkler’s data obviously indicates and what he SAYS it indicates.

Charles, is it possible for either Mr Burnett or yourself to invite Mr Winkler to comment on this column (which, as usual for WUWT, is not offensive or sneering in its tone but just…inquisitive). Perhaps he could write a column, in the light of this piece, to explain what he is getting at?

Ron Long
December 4, 2022 3:54 am

Another Great Reality Check, thanks, Sterling. The thing that infuriates me is that the CAGW Loonies, and their corrupt enablers, lie with such great conviction that a lot of persons believe them. Remember, it’s OK to shout at the TV, just don’t expect or wait for an answer (or they will think you are the Loonie one).

rah
December 4, 2022 4:16 am

This seems an odd claim since the evidence the article provides indicates that during the recent period of warming hurricanes are less frequent than they have been in the past, with the most intense periods of hurricane activity occurring when seas were cooler………………In every sample, the evidence suggest that time the period which produced the greatest number of hurricanes were multiple decades in the middle and towards the end of the little ice age.”

Contrasts! Contrasts in temperatures and pressures.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  rah
December 4, 2022 5:03 am

Yup…it is temperature DIFFERENTIALS that cause violent weather, NOT a higher AVERAGE temperature, in particular when most of the increase in AVERAGE temperature is due to overnight low temperatures not getting as cold, and the poles and higher latitudes seeing most of the “average” temperature increase, while the tropics see virtually no change.

If anything, this should REDUCE, not increase, the frequency and severity of violent weather. But the self-appointed “experts” try to sell you the polar opposite (no pun intended).

Climate gaslighting at its finest.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 4, 2022 11:08 am

“Climate gaslighting”

That’s what the alrmists are doing.

cwright
December 4, 2022 5:00 am

I think Winkler should be awarded some gold stars for doing good research based on data rather than junk computer models.
But those stars should be immediately taken away because of his alarmist words, which are completely contradicted by his data. Sadly, alarmism is a sure way of getting a paper published.
Chris

Denis
Reply to  cwright
December 4, 2022 6:52 am

He probably needs the money.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Denis
December 4, 2022 11:40 am

He is an academic that needs to publish. It strikes me that many of the contributors to The Conversation are young and need to fatten their CVs and look for inexpensive, low-bar to entry, publishers.

DMacKenzie
December 4, 2022 7:01 am

cores containing sediment and shell deposits found in coastal marshes, sink holes, and ponds from various locations on the Atlantic coast and various islands…..

The type of material from these boreholes would be very diverse to the point where one could fantasize whatever one wants to find. Hurricanes cause the layered detritus….sure…or maybe droughts or forest fires or animal herds or alligator population, or earthquakes, or landslides, or….

Walter Sobchak
December 4, 2022 8:49 am

The interesting thing is that the response to any “problem” discerned by the warmunists is always to shut down the energy infra structure. Every disaster has more than one cause. If no one lived in South Florida hurricanes there would not be a problem.

It might be cheaper and faster to deal with problem by hardening targets or by limiting use of vulnerable areas. E.g., if an area is vulnerable to tornadoes, don’t allow trailer parks. Require houses to have tornado shelters.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
December 4, 2022 11:43 am

Require houses to have tornado shelters.

Or, be built to withstand tornadoes.

Editor
December 4, 2022 11:55 am

comment image

Editor
December 4, 2022 2:01 pm

The paper being discussed only covers a very small part of the world. It is not even good evidence for US Atlantic Land-falling Hurricanes.

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