Why the Climate Alarmist Claims About 2017 Hurricanes Are Nonsense
The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season has the climate change alarmists out in full force.
These activists claim that man-made global warming has made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and the air more humid, thereby making tropical cyclones -- called hurricanes in the North Atlantic -- more frequent and more intense. They demand we reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to lessen the "increasing" hurricane threat.
Even scientists who should know better are promoting the hurricane/global warming connection. Dr. Gregory Flato -- a Canadian government scientist who is vice chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group that reports on the causes of climate change -- maintains:
There's also an expectation that as the sea surface temperatures increase, that the intensity of very intense hurricanes will become larger.
Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University has made similar claims, asserting that the potential intensity of hurricanes and other large storms has risen as a result of climate change.
But basic observations and meteorological science do not support their claims.
Meteorologist Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and an expert on tropical cyclones, explains:
[M]ajor hurricanes don’t really care whether the Gulf [of Mexico] is above average or below average in temperature.
Similarly, in a research paper published in March 2017, M. Mohapatra and V. Vijay Kumar, both of the India Meteorological Department, state:
[T]here is a decreasing trend in the tropical cyclone number over the North Indian Ocean in recent years, though there is an increasing trend in the sea surface temperature.
That ocean temperature rise in the Gulf of Mexico will not increase hurricane frequency has been part of fundamental meteorology since the 1970s. America’s "hurricane guru," the late Dr. Bill Gray -- emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University (CSU) and the head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences -- showed in peer-reviewed research that the seasonal hurricane frequency is determined by six climatological factors:
1. The rotational tendency, or vorticity, already present in the atmosphere. Low vorticity lessens the likelihood of a hurricane forming.
2. Pressure gradients determined by latitude. Low pressure gradients lessen the likelihood of a hurricane forming. Within 4 to 5 degrees of the equator, pressure gradients are too weak for hurricanes to form.
3. Wind shear, the changes in wind speed and direction that occur between layers in the atmosphere. Low wind shear allows the whole system in a growing hurricane, from sea level up to around 15,000 meters, to turn together. This helps to keep the storm intact and strengthening. High wind shear essentially cuts the top off a cyclone before it can become a hurricane.