History shows hurricanes are natural. Hyping them is not.

By |2013-08-28T12:47:07+00:00August 28th, 2013|CFACT Insights|4 Comments

As 2013’s (so far quiet) tropical storm season reaches peak time, remind anyone who tries to tell you there is something unique about the next hurricane to strike the U.S. that history shows hurricanes to be natural events.  They always have been.

“Superstorm” Sandy, for instance, was not a “major” storm.  It had fallen to category I and below by the time it made landfall.  Its damage was primarily caused by striking areas of the U.S. northeast that rarely experience hurricanes and are not well prepared for them.  It also arrived when the tide would add in to cause a large storm surge.

Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans was largely due to aging levies failing to protect one of the few great world cities existing in part below sea level.

Those who remember their history can contrast the devastation wreaked upon the northeast by the “great” hurricane of 1938, or the hurricane which demolished Galveston, Texas in 1900.  Remember also the pair of Pacific cyclones of 1274 and 1281 which destroyed Kublai Khan’s Mongol fleets and prevented them from invading Japan.  This “divine wind” later lent its name, “kamikaze,” to the Japanese suicide flyers of WWII.

NOAA assembled 11,967 hurricane / cyclone tracks from 1842 to 2012 and compiled the tracks into one image.

So far, 2013 has seen historically low tropical storm activity in the North Atlantic, with none at all developing into hurricanes to date.  It has been eight years since a major hurricane hit the US, the longest such period since the Civil War.

The U.S. has experienced the fewest hurricanes during President Obama’s time in office it has during any president’s.  Perhaps Obama’s promise that his election “was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal” was not made entirely in vain after all.

NOAA compiled its tropical storm tracks using historical data assembled from ships logs and other observations and then moved on to storm chasing aircraft and modern satellite data.

NOAA’s artful rendering of tropical storm tracks serves as a powerful reminder that tropical storms are natural, historic and to be expected.  Preparing for hurricanes is prudent.  Hyping them to push the global warming agenda is propaganda.



  1. gofigure560 August 28, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I’m surprised.

    NOAA’s PR staff was recently quoted (by the usual alarmist) as saying that our recent decade is the warmest “on record”, and 2012 is one of the 10 warmest years.

    NOAA didn’t clarify that a year or two in the 1930s (but not the entire decade) was as warm as any of the current years. They also didn’t explain that “on record” likely removes from consideration earlier periods (such as the Medieval Warming Period) where temperature proxies must be used. Neither did the admit that 2012 was one of the coolest of those 10 warmest which of course implies some recent cooling.

    Why does nobody point out that selection of the mid 1800s as the start of our current warming is bogus. That’s a cherry-picked date. Our current warming began, by definition, in the mid 1600s, at the bottom (the low temperature) of the Little Ice Age. Most of our current warming occurred before co2 began rising and also long before the beginning of the industrial revolution.

    • Craig Rucker August 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      “Warmest ever” is a way to keep the hype going without admitting that it is not much warmer than other years and that there’s been no warming for well over a decade. Somehow the inconvenient facts never quite make the final draft.

    • Steveng August 30, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      If one would take a look at navigational maps, circa 1100, one would find ships traveling throughout the Northwest Passages and the islands above Canada without problems with ice. In fact, ships traveling from Europe to Canada sailed above Greenland and through Baffin Bay.

  2. frappyjohn August 28, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    You make a nice point, but I don’t see what the NOAA image has to do with it. It doesn’t differentiate the storms over time.

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