Where did all the global warming hurricanes go? (My Forbes article)
The cover of Al Gore’s new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, features a satellite image of the globe showing four major hurricanes – results, we’re meant to believe, of man-made global warming. All four were photoshopped. Which is nice symbolism, because in a sense the whole hurricane aspect of warming has been photoshopped.
As I note in my article in Forbes, it was all really based on just two data points – with the names “Katrina” and “Rita.”
Now with both greenhouse gas emissions and levels in the atmosphere are at their highest, but this year had the fewest hurricanes since 1997, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the first time since 2006 no hurricanes even made landfall in the U.S.; indeed hurricane activity is at a 30-year low.
Whoops! So much for Gore’s cover and all the hullabaloo.
In a 2005 column, I gave what now proves an interesting retrospective.
“The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name was global warming.” So wrote environmental activist Ross Gelbspan in a New York Times op-ed that one commentator aptly described as “almost giddy.” The green group Friends of the Earth linked Katrina to global warming, as did Germany’s Green Party Environment Minister.
The most celebrated of these commentaries was Chris Mooney’s 2007 book Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming. Mooney, for the record, is also author of the best-selling book The Republican War on Science.
Yet there were top scientists in 2005 such as Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, publishing data showing the Rita-Katrina blowhards had no business building a case around two anomalies. But his paper was squelched by Kevin Trenbarth of “Climategate” fame.
It’s fascinating stuff. Read it!