Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You've Been Warmed: The Storms Are Coming

As "An Inconvenient Truth" — former Vice President Al Gore's new movie about climate change — gets ready to debut across the nation, global warming is once again a hot news topic everywhere you look. A new report by the Earth Institute at Columbia University warns of dire consequences in the coming months and years.

New York at high risk of flooding from climate change

[A] recently published study by researchers from The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the International Institute for Environment and Development suggests that as much as 10 percent of the world's population is vulnerable. In particular, the authors have found that many large cities face risks posed by rising sea level and increased storm intensity. [snip]

Ten percent of the world's population lives in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters (33 feet) above sea level, reports Balk and her colleagues. Although they only comprise about 2.2 percent of the world's land area, these low-elevation coastal zones (LECZs) are home to 600 million people. In addition, about 360 million people in LECZs live in urban areas which means that more people will be exposed to hazards such as sea-level rise and storm surges — phenomena that are expected to worsen as a result of global warming.
And some scientists are once again pointing an accusing finger at human civilization for the woes of the planet.

Experts: Global warming behind 2005 hurricanes

The record Atlantic hurricane season last year can be attributed to global warming, several top experts, including a leading U.S. government storm researcher, said on Monday.

"The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now," said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Holland told a packed hall at the American Meteorological Society's 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology that the wind and warmer water conditions that fuel storms that form in the Caribbean are "increasingly due to greenhouse gases. There seems to be no other conclusion you can logically draw."
Of course, as we have seen so many times in the past, one man's "no other conclusion you can logically draw" is another scientist's "I haven't the foggiest notion where you are coming up with that!" Scientists in the United Kingdom are reporting that "climate change might have little to do with anything humans have done." And science writer Tom DeWeese documents that there are plenty of scientists and experts whose research contradicts Holland's assertions.

You hear it everywhere. Global Warming is a fact. It is here. It is now unstoppable. The Polar Ice Cap is melting. Polar Bears are endangered. Greenland is actually turning green! Hurricanes are blowing with more force. Tornadoes are growing in numbers. Water levels are increasing, threatening to flood New York City. Human existence is threatened. And, of course, the deserts are starting to burn. We are assured that scientists are in near total agreement with the assessment. [snip]

Global Warming has become a euphemism for a political agenda. There is Socialism, Capitalism and Global Warmingism. It has become a religion run by fanatics reminiscent of the leaders of the darkest days of the Inquisition that nearly destroyed civil society only a few hundred years ago. We are not to question the great god of Global Warming. Those who do are separated from civil society and labeled as heretics.

So how can anyone question the decrees handed down from the Ivory Towers to the unwashed masses? Answer: every religion has its heretics.

The simple truth is there is no scientific consensus on Global Warming. In fact, as the media frenzy screams global warming, there are a growing number of scientists who are expressing their doubts.
The truth about the hurricanes is that during the past 35 years, the average number of "significant" tropical cyclones in the southern regions, including the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Indian Ocean, is about 28.5 storms per year. The breakdown by decade is: 1970s - 32.9; 1980s- 27.8; 1990s - 29.1; and the 2000s, so far - 25.0 It is interesting to note that so far in the 2000s the numbers are actually below average. Even if one calculates just the last ten years it only amounts to 28.5 — well within the average.

The fact is, researchers are now looking into Hurricane Katrina to determine its true strength. It is currently listed as a category 4 storm. But will probably be downgraded to a category 3. It is important to remember that the disaster of New Orleans was a result of bad government not taking care of the levies. There was relatively little actual hurricane damage.
And speaking of hurricanes, Colorado State University's Dr William Gray predicts another busy hurricane season this year. Or maybe not. But probably so.

The Colorado State University team led by Dr. William Gray, a pioneer in forecasting storm probabilities, said it expected 17 named storms to form in the Atlantic basin during the six-month season, which officially begins on June 1.

Nine of the storms will strengthen into hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 mph, the team said, reaffirming an early prediction made in December and updated to include current trends like the La Nina weather phenomenon, cool Pacific waters and an abnormally warm Atlantic. [snip]

Gray's predictions are valued by companies but their accuracy can be difficult to gauge because they are revised regularly as a season progresses.

The Colorado State team, for example, initially predicted 13 storms for 2005 and raised the forecast in May last year to 15. It wasn't until August 5 — almost halfway through the season — that Gray increased the prediction to 20 storms. In the event, 2005 saw a record 27 named storms, of which 15 became hurricanes.
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On a side note, humans have at least been cleared of culpability in these tragic events, all of which scientists link directly to global warming:

So if humans are not to blame for all this global warming, I wonder what could be the cause?


A tip of the hat to Pat of Brainster's Blog for some of the links.

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