Government scientist urges caution linking hurricanes to warming

By |2018-06-05T19:19:29+00:00June 6th, 2018|Climate|Comments Off on Government scientist urges caution linking hurricanes to warming

The news media should be cautious about linking hurricane activity to global warming, according to National Hurricane Center Science and Operations Officer Chris Landsea. In an interview with NBC News reporters, Landsea said he is concerned when hurricanes are used “as a poster child” for global warming (https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/national-international/Is-There-a-Link-to-Superstorms-and-Global-Warming-484364611.html).

“There’s periods where it’s busy and quiet and busy and quiet, but no trend,” said Landsea, “There’s no statistical change over a 130-year period. Since 1970, the number of hurricanes globally is flat. I haven’t seen anything that suggests that the hurricane intensity is going to change dramatically. It looks like a pretty tiny change to how strong hurricanes will be. It’s not zero, but it’s in the noise level. It’s very small.”

Responding to assertions that hurricanes are stronger now or retain their strength longer than was the case several decades ago, Landsea questioned whether that perception is due to modern technology. Today’s technology is able to immediately detect the full strength of a hurricane even when it is far out at sea.

Global tropical cyclone data, presented by meteorologist Ryan Maue at http://wx.graphics/tropical/, show fluctuations from year to year but little if any long-term trend.

2017 was an active hurricane season in the North Atlantic, prompting the media to link hurricane activity to global warming. However, the 12 years before 2017 marked the longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) striking the United States (https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/major-us-hurricane-drought-ends-after-record-4323-days).

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