Hide the Cyclone!

| March 1, 2010 | 1 Reply

The science is unsettled.

Research by hurricane scientists may force the UN’s climate panel to reconsider its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms.

The benchmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that a worldwide increase in hurricane-force storms since 1970 was probably linked to global warming.

However, the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, paints a very different picture.

It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.

Looking to the future, it also draws on computer modelling to predict that the most likely impact of global warming will be to decrease the frequency of tropical storms, by up to 34% by 2100.

It does, however, suggest that when tropical storms do occur they could get slightly stronger, with average windspeeds rising by 2-11% by 2100

I wouldn’t put much stock in the computer modelling part of the study, mostly because the accuracy of those models depend almost entirely on the completeness and accuracy of the data being fed into them. There are dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of variables involved in the life-cycle of a hurricane and only the most arrogant person could suggest that we know all of them, or even most of them. Climate is perhaps the most complex system we humans have ever studied and, as the Cult of Global Warming has learned over the past few months, conclusions that could be stated with a high level of certainty now can easily become utter rubbish very quickly.

Which is why we should remember that science can only tell why things are the way they are right now. The future is far less certain and the farther out you go, the more uncertain it becomes. Of coruse, that means you should be skeptical about any prediction of doom and gloom. It could well be that the people doing the predicting either don’t understand science or  are shining you on for their own personal gain. A healthy bit of skepticism makes you a responsible citizen and not prone to acts of stunning despair when your religion fails you (wise and skeptical disclaimer here).

(via Hot Air)

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Category: Oh the Climate, It is A-Changin'

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