Saturday, August 2, 2014

Humans do not cause hurricanes

It's been a long time since a hurricane has struck down in Florida, 3,151 days to be precise, but when one does you can rest assured it will be falsely accused as the result of man-made climate change.  

During that stretch there has also been no major one striking on U.S. soil. Yet Roger Pielke Jr, in a column in  U.S.A. Today, "Hurricane luck will run out" says Americans had better not let down their guard, yet not because of climate change: because their luck will run out.  

He said the last hurricane drought came in the period between 1900 and 1913, where there was a two year drought once during that time.  He said there was an eight year span when Florida was hit by no hurricanes prior to 2005 when a category 3 hurricane named Wilma struck.  Since then there have been no category three hurricanes.

That does not mean there hasn't been hurricanes, because there have, and there have been some that have caused quite a significant amount of damage, such as in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy caused $50 billion in damage when it hit the northeast coast.  Yet that storm was not a category three storm, and, as Pielke said, you cannot link hurricane damage with hurricane strength.

And while climate activists claimed blamed the last string of hurricanes strikes on American soil on climate change, there is little evidence to support this.  Pielke said:
We can say with some certainty that there is little evidence to suggest that U.S. hurricanes have become more common or stronger. The recent report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees: "No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin."
 He also noted the there is a current trend in diminished strength of hurricanes that mimics a trend in the early years of the 20th century.  He said:
In fact, from 1900 through 2013, the United States experienced a decrease in hurricane landfalls of more than 20%, and the strength of each year's landfalling storms has also decreased by more than 20%.
He warns that hurricane strength and numbers can be inexplicable and erratic, a he says that with certainty our luck will run out soon.  For this reason, people must not have short memories and be prepared.

However, when one does strike, while some structures may be built strong enough to support the water and winds, many won't.  So we should not be surprised by the high amount of damage caused.

We should not be surprised by the dollar amounts even due to smaller hurricanes, and we should not blame them on climate change.