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Running out of Hurricane Names 712

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-waiting-for-hurricane-taco dept.
fm6 writes "LiveScience is reporting that the 21 names reserved for tropical storms and hurricanes in Atlantic Basic are almost used up. If there are more than 21 storms, they'll start using the Greek alphabet. The most storms ever recorded was 21 in 1933, before they started giving them official names. The connection between this record-breaking storm year and global warming remains controversial."
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Running out of Hurricane Names

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  • by danharan (714822) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:15PM (#13605781) Journal
    TFA article confuses more storms and more severe storms, and the editors blithely repeat that assertion.

    It's pretty straightforward: the force of the storm depends on the temperature on the ocean's surface. Higher temperature means nastier storms.

    Look, if you don't believe humans are affecting the climate with CO2, fine. If you think things aren't getting worse, fine. But can you quit mis-representing people's arguments and research conclusions?

    Now back to reading that dupe about IE being more secure than FF. Gotta love editorial standards here.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fishstick (150821) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:18PM (#13605825) Journal
    The storms are named A-Z, with a few letters skipped.

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml [noaa.gov]

    Katrina was the (one, two three.. ) 11th tropical depression/storm/hurricane of the 2005 season.

    Next year, the 11th storm will be named 'Kirk'.

    Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. These advantages are especially important in exchanging detailed storm information between hundreds of widely scattered stations, coastal bases, and ships at sea.
  • Re:Bad PR (Score:2, Informative)

    by rodac (580415) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:38PM (#13606069) Homepage
    Sorry to spoil everything but you completely missed his joke.

    Alpha and Omega, the first and the last letter of the alphabet.

    i.e. Alpha and Omega == The Beginning and The End.

    In a more bilbical sense Omega refers to the end of the world.

    ==> Hurricane Omega == Hurricane "the end of the world"

    Sorry to spoil everything but school systems in the western world today, yadayadayada...
  • Re:Bad PR (Score:3, Informative)

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:39PM (#13606078) Homepage Journal
    One year they had a nasty Hurricane Anita that coincided with Anita Bryant [wikipedia.org] being in the news for her anti-Gay Rights initiative. I've heard (probably an urban legend, but who knows) that many people thought there was some connection between the activist and the storm, and sent her hate mail because of it.
  • Re:controversial? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:43PM (#13606113) Journal
    Actually, there has been a fairly public argument between climatologists and the hurricane researchers. The former claim that the increase in hurricanes is further evidence of global warming; the latter claim that this is part of the normal patterns. William Gray, a prominent hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, has been among the more vocal critics of those claiming that global warming is at fault for the increase.
  • Re:controversial? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:45PM (#13606136) Journal
    I have seen articles in quite a few papers, as well as reports on the BBC, CBC, and NPR all stating that the number of cat 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled in the last 30 years due to rising water temperatures.

    I realize it's a bit passe but you might try reading the second article [freerepublic.com] linked to in the blurb for a good refutation for that. As seems to be the case very often, those pushing the global warming stuff seem to pick time periods for their studies based on what will disinclude data which might point to a natural cycle.
    In the linked article, they show the data for the previous 25 years as well as the data from the last 30. Unsuprisingly, when the data from the previous 25 years is graphed next to the data from the last 30, the graph looks a lot more like a snapshot from a long cycle than it does a trend.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Golias (176380) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:48PM (#13606158)
    The real question is: Why name them at all?

    It's a rainstorm. A big, swirly rainstorm.

    Here in Minnesota, we don't get hurricanes. We get blizards. If you suggested naming any kind of snowstorm with human names, you would be laughed at.

    People in Minnesota still sometimes talk about "the big Halloween blizard" from a little over ten years ago.

    Compare news items:

    "A category 5 hurricane flooded New Orleans."

    vs.

    "Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 storm, flooded New Orleans."

    Apart from some useless trivia to stump your friends with a few years down the road, what do you really gain by naming it?
  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:50PM (#13606169) Journal
    Anthropogenic Global warming is a reality.
    From The American Association for the Advancement of Science's Journal Science [sciencemag.org]
    "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations"

    Global Warming causes sea-surface temperatures to rise.
    From NASA: [nasa.gov]
    ""There has been a strong warming trend over the past 30 years, a trend that has been shown to be due primarily to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere"
    Special Multimedia Bonus Goodness! [nasa.gov]

    Sea-surface energy fuel hurricanes
    From Nasa: [nasa.gov]
    "Hurricane winds are sustained by the heat energy of the ocean, so the ocean is cooled as the hurricane passes and the energy is extracted to power the winds.

    PROFIT!
  • Re:controversial? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pentagram (40862) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:51PM (#13606185) Homepage
    Everything I've seen says that climate scientists say there's no connection at all.

    Then you haven't been looking very hard [bbc.co.uk].
  • by BRock97 (17460) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @12:53PM (#13606206) Homepage
    "These people aren't scientists, they are politicians."

    Fine then, ask the scientists. William Gray, the grand daddy of hurricane forecasting and the go-to guy at the beginning of the season thinks the hurricane-to-global-warming connection is way overblown to non-existant [discover.com].

    If that is too definitive for you, a group of scientist out of the University of Colorado have come to the conclusion that the claims of a linkage between global warming and hurricane impacts are premature [PDF] [colorado.edu]. So the brightest minds in hurricanes don't see it and I doubt that they would be in denial.....
  • by Dink Paisy (823325) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:05PM (#13606304) Homepage
    There isn't any firm evidence that global warming is in fact a problem, but we do know a few things.

    First, the climate has become slightly warmer over the past hundred years. This is known fact, over the period for which accurate measurements and records are available.

    Second, there are suggestions from analysis of tree trunk rings that the climate has become progressively warmer over the past several centuries. This research is controversial, and not everyone accepts it.

    Third, records from antarctic ice show that there is much more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any time in the recent, or even quite distant, past.

    Accepting global warming requires a belief that the first item is part of a trend, and that it is a result of human behaviour. Although that isn't proven, it does seem a distinct possibility, especially in light of the third item.

  • Free republic... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tfoss (203340) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:18PM (#13606441)
    Should tell you something that the "controversial" claim is based on a Free Rpublic article. The guy who they are using as a reference, is pretty well established as one of the leading anti-global warming proponents. A selection of, Dr. Patrick Michaels _scholarly_ articles from his website at UVA:
    Michaels, P.J., and R.C. Balling, Jr. 1999. Global warming: The political science of exaggeration. Prometheus 1, 63-70.
    Hansen, J.E. and P.J. Michaels. 2000. AARST Science Policy Forum, New York. Social Epistemology 14:133-186
    Michaels, P.J., and R.C. Balling, Jr. 2000. The Satanic Gases. Cato Books, Washington DC. 234 pp.

    Additionally, his research interests on that UVA page (where he is the CATO Institute Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies) include:

    The core issue over the next ten years will not be "How much will the climate warm?" but, rather, "Why did it warm so little?" My research also leads me to believe that the next decade will see the emergence of a paradigm of "robust earth," as opposed to the fashionable "fragility" concept. The papers listed below provide some evidence for these observations. It is entirely possible that human influence on the atmosphere is not necessarily deleterious and that it is simply another component of the dynamic planet.

    Ok, so let's look at 'Tech Central Station,' the location hosting the article the free republic is referencing. Dr. Michaels articles on there include:
      Stepping up the Pressure:The all-out, last-ditch effort by global warming alarmists to find any excuse to compel the US to take action.
      Tip of the Iceberg:Yet another predictable distortion.
      Conjecture vs. Science: Are the editors of Science are more interested in conjecture than in firm scientific findings?
     

    And, incidentally, as stated on the About TCS webpage, 'Tech Central Station' is published by DCI Group, LLC. And, DCI LLC is "top Republican lobby and PR firm associated with telemarketing company Feather Larson & Synhorst DCI and the direct-mail firm FYI Messaging. The DCI group publishes the website Tech Central Station and has close ties to the George W. Bush administration." according to Source watch [sourcewatch.org].

    This is pretty clearly an guy who does not buy into global warming as a concept, despite near universal agreement in the scientific community. To hear him proclaim 'no its not' arguments to scientific articles in both Nature and Science seems to carry rather little weight...particularly when he is publishing on a clearly partisan website. Write a Science/Nature (or hell PNAS, whatever) article refuting this, have it peer-reviewed and then there might be some reason to talk. Until that point, this is little more than personal ideaology posing as "science."

    -Ted

  • by metternich (888601) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:21PM (#13606493)
    Parent is correct. The number of hurricanes globally is not increasing. However, there is evidence that Hurricanes are becoming more intense because of global climate change.
    Linkie.. [usgcrp.gov] (Lots of papers.)
  • Re: controversial? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:26PM (#13606549)


    > From what I understand hurricanes are caused when you have warm water and cooler air. Generally this is caused by quick temperature drops in the air. This is why most hurricanes happen in september, when air is starting to cool

    Hurricane season peaks in September, but we still get a darn lot in June-July-August, when there's not a heck of a lot of cooling going on in the tropics of the northern hemisphere.

    I think a more accurate description is that you need hot water+air at the surface and cooler air way up high, so that seawater will evaporate, the hot damp air will rise, and the water will condense out of the air when it gets high enough to cool down.



    > It seems to me, and I could be wrong, but global warming would cause warmer air, and possibly cooler water as less of the suns rays would hit the water.

    FYI, global warming shouldn't be visualized as "everything's warmer", but rather as "more thermal energy in the atmosphere and oceans". It will not necessarily be spread evenly (it never has been), and uneven spread is probably a recipe for more storms - especially heat engines like hurricanes, but also more winter storms and other things you wouldn't expect from a naive understanding of what "global warming" means.

  • by Intelligent Design (909311) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:29PM (#13606574)
    It saddens me that link made it onto slashdot's frontpage as a credible source regarding global warming. If you want to get an informed opinion, read the original article and a commentary at Science [sciencemag.org].

    Most of the Free Republic article was spent summarizing the science article, which concluded as was quoted. The conclusion they reached first mentioned the observed trend from satellite data over the past 30 years: an increasing frequency of intense hurricanes. They also mentioned that this observed trend is consistent with predictions made by an extremely sophicasted simulator, such as this one [prime-intl.co.jp](from the science article's references). The simulator's function is to provide predictions of hurricane type, location, and frequency based on as wide of a variety of climate conditions as possible, and to provide them as accurately as possible (which is tested by comparison with observations).

    So the simulators can accurately predict some trends in hurricane activity. Here that trend was an increasing frequency of intense hurricanes, given an increase in CO2 concentration and an increase in ocean temperatures, which is what has been observed [wikipedia.org] over the last 30 years.

    Since the Free Republic author didn't like the conclusion reached by the scientist, he tries to append some non-satellite data to the beginning of the study and make his own new study. Any numbskull would notice that the data he appended is much noiser than the data in the study, and he clearly isn't qualified to attempt such a study (which is why his article wasn't published in a peer-reviewed journal like Science).

    The best thing to do in these situations is school yourself [wikipedia.org] and then come to your own conclusions on this matter.

  • No, not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gruneun (261463) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:42PM (#13606709)
    Here's a list of the retired hurricanes:



    The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z aren't used because there aren't enough names that start with those letters (in our culture). Otherwise, you run a pretty good chance of having hurricanes Xavier and Quentin pretty much every year.
  • by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz@NOSPAm.me.com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @01:55PM (#13606882) Homepage
    you'd learn the answer.

    Current theories seem to suggest that storm frequency varies on a long term cycle independent of global warming. However weather models do suggest that a warmer ocean means that the storms we get will be stronger.
  • Re:Errrr.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by puppetman (131489) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:01PM (#13606941) Homepage
    How about the NOAA?

    The link has some interesting quotes [noaa.gov]:

    "The strongest hurricanes in the present climate may be upstaged by even more intense hurricanes over the next century as the earth's climate is warmed by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

    "The results described above are based on a recent simulation study carried out by Thomas R. Knutson and Robert E. Tuleya at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). This study examined the response of simulated hurricanes to the climate warming projected for a substantial build-up of atmospheric CO2. Such an increase in the upper-limit intensity of hurricanes with global warming was suggested on theoretical grounds by M.I.T. Professor Kerry Emanuel in 1987."

    MIT, NOAA - pretty reputable sources. So point me to the articles where the link between Global Warming and extreme weather (like hurricanes) is dismissed?
  • by daVinci1980 (73174) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:07PM (#13607019) Homepage
    It's completely irrelevant whether global warming is a cause for the increase in hurricanes or not. If it is, then there's nothing we can do to help the problem in the short term--even if we reduced human contributions to global warming to 0, it would still take many years for the damage done already to dissipate. So blaming the especially strong hurricane season on global warming is a bit like blaming your father for the kind of person you've turned out to be. It might make you feel better, but it won't help with the actual problem--that you're a deadbeat drunk and you beat your kids.

    There will always be hurricanes. Just like there will always be tornados, droughts, earthquakes, sinkholes and other natural disasters. That's why they're called natural disasters. They're natural. They're a part of nature. The fact that there are 200 hurricanes this year and only 10 next year doesn't help the people affected by them any more or less.

    Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that there isn't global warming. I have skin. I can tell it's there, even over my relatively short lifespan. We should get in on the Kyoto accord (or at least emulate like we're a part of it), cut back our emissions and do our best not to perturb the natural rest-state of the environment. But in the short term, we need to figure out better ways to evacuate people from affected areas and find better methods to deal with disaster recovery.
  • Quit Making up Stuff (Score:3, Informative)

    by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:10PM (#13607069)
    Geeze anyone can google and find out the truth in 10 seconds. Try the National Hurricane Centers [noaa.gov] own statistics. Look at the 10 year statistics. You cannot make any correlation. It's oddly cyclical and you cannot say any given year is normal. I'm not denying global warming, but it's not the cause of every bad storm. Stuff happens, hurricanes, tsunami's, earthquakes it has happened since the man first walked upright.

    When you have alot of chicken littles running around crying 'the end is near', and make unsubstantiated claims, nobody can take you seriously. You end up getting compared with crop circles, yeti and ufo's.

  • by Gruneun (261463) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:15PM (#13607146)
  • by WombatControl (74685) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:28PM (#13607324)

    RealClimate is not a credible source. It's run by an environmentalist lobbying group out of Washington DC - do a WHOIS on the domain.

    Using them as a source is like producing a GOP press release that says that George W. Bush is the best President ever. That may or may not be true, but one can't expect impartial analysis from someone who has a definite interest in pushing one side or the other.

  • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:50PM (#13607595) Homepage Journal
    That's not insightful. Junk Science is a website that is meant to push a political agenda, not pursue science. Two minutes there is enough to convince you of that.
  • Controversial? (Score:5, Informative)

    by coaxial (28297) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:55PM (#13607688) Homepage
    Yeah. Just to the Freepers.

    So we have an industry shill and a thinktanker on one side, and almost the entire climatology community on the other [slashdot.org]. (out of 928 peer-reviewed papers published, NOT ONE denied global warming was real and was occuring now due to human activities. 75% accepted that conclusion explicitly or implicitly, and the remaining 25% made no mention either way.) Yeah that's controversial, and so is the planet being round [wikipedia.org].

    Just last week it was reported that arctic sea ice melting was accelerating, and therefore we have passed the tipping point [slashdot.org].

    There may have been controversy 30 years ago. The only controversy now is the manufactured one for political gain. Then again, I suspect fm6, also believes that the white house was changing scientific results [slashdot.org] simply to make it "fair and balanced" [foxnews.com].

  • by KarmaMB84 (743001) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @03:10PM (#13607875)
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml [noaa.gov] NOAA seems to confirm what junk science is saying...there's no obvious pattern.
  • by tehdaemon (753808) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @07:04PM (#13609880)
    Making decisions based on assumptions is often a very bad idea, as you pointed out.

    However, what he meant is 'assuming for the sake of argument'. That is a very usefull assumption and it usually does not cause any harm.

    Regardless of whether global warming is a natural cycle, human caused, or non-existant, none of these are 'undisputed facts' by any means. Indeed, there seems to be far more disputes than facts....

  • by rossifer (581396) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @09:08PM (#13610543) Journal
    When volcanoes spew more greenhouse gases in a day than mankind has done in 10,000 years... Gimme a break.

    Actually, the Mt. Saint Helens eruption added about 4% to the US greenhouse gas emissions for 1980 (one part in twenty five!). On average, volcanos put about 110 million tons of CO2 into the air per year. Human activity puts about 10 billion tons of CO2 into the air per year (about 90 times as much as volcanos). Volcanos also tend to pump out more SO2 than anything else, and SO2 is a reverse greenhouse gas (causing global cooling).

    The largest eruption in recent history (and probably the largest in the last twelve thousand years) was Tambora in 1815. That eruption is believed to have produced 300 million tons of SO2 and 80 million tons of CO2. But the output of the biggest volcano in recorded history is just a drop in the bucket compared to modern human activity.

    Regards,
    Ross

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