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Earth Science

Atlantic Hurricane Season 30 Percent Stronger Than Normal 448

Posted by Soulskill
from the act-now-while-supplies-last dept.
MatthewVD writes "The National Hurricane Center reported today that the combined energy and duration of all the storms in the Atlantic basin hurricane season was 30 percent above the average from 1981 to 2010. At Weather Underground, Dr. Jeff Masters blogs that record low levels of arctic ice could have caused a 'blocking ridge' over Greenland that pushed Hurricane Sandy west. Meanwhile, Bloomberg BusinessWeek says, 'it's global warming, stupid.'"
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Atlantic Hurricane Season 30 Percent Stronger Than Normal

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    But then they limited the dates didnt they....to fit their narrative.


  • by bricko (1052210) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:23PM (#41854121)
    Seems they limited their dates so they could leave out all those in the 50's. Here are their paths. http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/021813.html [smalldeadanimals.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wiedzmin (1269816)

      Exactly! The whole global warming sales pitch is based on the same premise - the fact is they either don't include, or don't have the measurements taken back long enough to see if this is indeed a human-induced problem, or a normal pattern. What have we been collecting meteorological data for a couple centuries now? What if this kind of thing happens every thousand years on its own?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What if?

        It doesn't matter if there is a natural cycle. With global warming, it will potentially be stronger. And without the effect of arctic sea ice, those hurricanes might just continue to hit coastline instead of going out to sea to die.

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          "Natural" doesn't mean "spontaneous". There's always a cause.

          We've looked around and the only smoking gun anybody's come up with so far is atmospheric CO2 levels.

          The question is: Where's all the extra CO2 coming from? Oh, that's right...

        • The point with the natural cycle is there are only miniscule increases in number and severity of storms. Huge ones come all the time. In fact, they pointed out on NPR that there was a worse storm to hit New England in the " '80s...the 1880s"., with lols.

          Every time a storm comes, zomg the sky is falling in new and horrible ways. Umm...no.

        • What the AC said. Existing weather patterns will become, gradually, more extreme. The question isn't whether it is happening, but whether we will take action while it is still reversible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181)

        ... if this is indeed a human-induced problem

        I don't see anybody else dumping billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere year after year. ... and that "greenhouse" thing? It works.

        • by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:24PM (#41854917)
          The atmosphere weighs ~5 million billion tons.

          Now please explain why you told us about the mass of CO2 released by humans into the atmosphere each year, why you used a seemingly large number to I guess influence opinion, and why you neglected to be honest about how small the number you gave actually is in reality.
          • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:59PM (#41855405) Homepage

            You want hard numbers? Humans are putting about 29,000 billion tons of CO2 into the air each year. I'm not sure which way that will influence public opinion but in reality it is quite a big number. Even compared to 5,000,000 billion.

            There's a thing called 'balance', it doesn't always take a big change to upset it.

            There's a well-known story about straws and camel's backs. A straw doesn't weight much, but it can be enough...

      • by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:00PM (#41855427)

        This is exactly the kind of uninformed comment that convinces everybody else how full of BS the "skeptic" community is. Do you honestly believe that no scientist has ever thought to address those questions in the published scientific literature? Are you unaware that a simple search on google could answer your questions in minutes? Do you honestly think that your characterization of what you call the "global warming sales pitch" has basis in the arguments made by the scientific community? Use your head.

        People are entitled to their own views, but they aren't entitled to spew their deliberately ignorant blather about the scientific community. Maybe next time you should do a simple google search before posting to slashdot instead of advertising how proudly ignorant you are.

    • by chill (34294) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:00PM (#41854595) Journal

      I'm sure you've heard the phrase "climate vs weather" before and that the difference is one long term and one is short.

      What probably *hasn't* been pointed out to you is that climate science uses 30-year averages as their basis for "long term" and to differentiate weather vs climate.

      Thus "climate" is the average over a 30-year period to get a data point whereas "weather" is 1-year measurements to get data points.

      1981-2010 is the latest complete 30-year set. 1951-1980 would be the prior 30-year set, thus is not relevant to what they are reporting on.

      Hurricane Sandy will be incorporated into the current 30-year set, which will complete in 2040.

      That being said, they also use 30-year rolling averages but that isn't what is being reported here.

      • by khallow (566160)

        What probably *hasn't* been pointed out to you is that climate science uses 30-year averages as their basis for "long term" and to differentiate weather vs climate.

        Utter garbage. If you're going to make up shit, could you at least make up something plausible? Googling around, the error seems to come from NOAA data products [noaa.gov] (which cover 30 year time spans) that are updated every ten years. For your information, the NOAA is not climate science, but a government bureaucracy that happens to find a 30 year period useful not because it considers 30 years "long term".

        1981-2010 is the latest complete 30-year set. 1951-1980 would be the prior 30-year set, thus is not relevant to what they are reporting on.

        The previous NOAA set was 1971-2000.

    • I was questioning the 30% above average, since the average may be from 90mph winds to 120mph winds--which is 30%! What's the standard deviation here? Variance whatever.
  • Average vs. variance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:25PM (#41854157)

    It's interesting to know that this season was 30% above the mean, but what's the variance over that same time period?

    Because for all I know from the summary, half of those years had storm season that were 30% more active than the average.

    • by colin_faber (1083673) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:29PM (#41854195)


      So what's 'normal'? It seems the political GW fanatics are all over this as a big "see I told you so" kind of event.

      I'm not suggesting GW does or doesn't exist, just that looking at a tiny slice of time and then sensationalizing an event which happens (time scale wise) some what regularly just pollutes the 'issue' even more and leads to bad assumptions being made (on both sides of the issue).

      • by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:09PM (#41855599)

        Scientists have warned for years that global warming would increase the likelihood of severe storms hitting the northeast corridor which could flood low lying areas and cripple infrastructure. Then we witness precisely the kind of storm that scientists have been warning us about. But somehow pointing out the years of research that predicted these kinds of events is "sensationalizing" the event.

        You've got it completely backwards. The storm was sensational on its own. If anything, it is the implications of the storm and the massive devasation that it wrought that has sensationalized the research. And rightly so. Now is exactly the moment to inform the public of the risks of global warming. Global warming isn't an abstraction, it's a fact that's already happening here and now.

        • by meta-monkey (321000) on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:20PM (#41856807) Journal
          But you act as though freak storms are a new thing. They're not. They're rare, but they have always happened. There was not a Before Time, In the Long, Long Ago when the weather was always calm and placid, but things changed and now all of a sudden we have massive storms destroying cities year after year. It's always been that every few years there's a major storm that wrecks stuff. It's just now, those destructive but regularly occurring storms are being pointed at as the dire results of global warming.

          However, the past five or so hurricane seasons were very mild. Are those mild seasons evidence global warming isn't producing "more extreme weather?" Or, let me guess, the mild seasons are also evidence of global warming. "Things will be extremely pleasant! Or extremely not pleasant! But it will always be EXTREME!" You kind of can't really have it both ways.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:30PM (#41854207)

    If the hurricanes are more powerful, that means they are using more energy, right? And my less than great understanding is that less energy equates to cooler temperatures (for a system), so does this mean the hurricanes are helping to cool the earth by converting excess heat into... well... something that's not heat( e.g. motion or water, wind, etc.)?

    Note: I hope this doesn't descend into a flame-war about global warming; the main question is: whatever the temperature, does the energy dissipated by hurricanes ultimately cool the system they are in?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      The sun can replenish the energy of a hurricane in a matter of hours.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:50PM (#41854489) Homepage Journal

      At a guess, hurricanes and other weather systems don't so much remove heat from the Earth as make the distribution a little more uniform. All that wind and rain and storm surge creates a lot of friction with the ground, the water, and the surrounding air. Some of the heat released will radiate off into space, sure, but most of it won't--lots of cloud cover under the circumstances, obviously. So post-Sandy, it will maybe be a little warmer in the northeast US and a little cooler in the tropical Atlantic than it would have been otherwise. I have no idea if this effect is significant enough to measure for any one storm.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:30PM (#41854993)

      If the hurricanes are more powerful, that means they are using more energy, right? And my less than great understanding is that less energy equates to cooler temperatures (for a system), so does this mean the hurricanes are helping to cool the earth by converting excess heat into... well... something that's not heat( e.g. motion or water, wind, etc.)?

      A hurricane (or tropical cyclone) is a heat engine. It takes the heat from the body of water (ocean) and dumps it into a cooler body (atmosphere) while doing work (moving lots of air).

      I believe the oceans cool about 3 degrees C/K from this process, so it seems like it's a way for the oceans to cool themselves down - the warmer they get, they just spin off more hurricanes.

      Of course, all that useful work energy ends up as heat per the laws of thermodynamics.

    • by Artifakt (700173)

      Hurricanes convert a more ordered form of energy (kenetic energy in winds) into heat. That's enthropy for you.
      The reason there are predictions that hurricanes will be affected by accellerated global warming is that there's a well known corrolated observation: As a tropical depression's center moves over warm water (specifically anything over 94 degreees F), the depression grows. Over slightly cooler water it doesn't, and when it passes over much cooler water, it shrinks. That's been a very reliable observat

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Hurricanes convert the energy inherent in the temperature difference between ocean water and air into mechanical work by lifting air and water up.
      And yes, they cool the ocean doing that.

  • Sure it is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:32PM (#41854239) Journal

    2005 (Hurricane Katrina): "It's global warming, stupid"
    2006 Not a single hurricane makes landfall on the US mainland: "Well duh, that's just weather, global warming wouldn't have an impact on weather.
    2012: (Hurricane Sandy): "It's global warming, stupid"

    Really, can you guys just stop? Seriously, have NONE of you ever read Peter and the Wolf?

    • by Thud457 (234763)

      Seriously, have NONE of you ever read Peter and the Wolf?

      I believe The Three Little Pigs might be more apropos.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      Really, can you guys just stop? Seriously, have NONE of you ever read Peter and the Wolf?

      I have. There was a wolf in it, it ate the little boy.

      Crying wolf a bit too early doesn't mean there's no wolf out there.

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        You obviously ENTIRELY MISSED the *point* of the story.
        Wow, even little kids get it. /facepalm.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Culture20 (968837)
          I've stated this before on /. but I'm too lazy to search for it:
          There are two morals to that fable. One for children: don't lie or a wolf will eat you because no one will believe you. One for adults: always treat an alarm as real because sometimes it is and a kid might get eaten; also repeat the fable so that fewer false alarms occur.
      • Re:Sure it is (Score:5, Informative)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:52PM (#41854501)

        I have. There was a wolf in it, it ate the little boy.

        Crying wolf a bit too early doesn't mean there's no wolf out there.

        Right. So if you want to convince people of that fact, stop making claims you either a) can't back up, or b) simply aren't true (i.e. don't try to claim that weather=climate if and only if it supports your position, which both sides do all the time). Is the Earth getting warmer? Yes. Is human activity aiding that process? Yes. Is Sandy the result of human activity? We have no idea. Statistics doesn't work like that, you can't predict individual events. And global warming (all weather and climate, for that matter) is purely statistics. So stop attributing individual events to global warming (or "climate change", which I believe is the current trendy term for it).

        • I think the article makes a great metaphor of global warming causing more energy to be in the ocean, similar to steroids in baseball boosting strength

          stop attributing individual events to global warming

          Or as they could say in baseball, "stop attributing a particular home run to steroids", despite a clear, direct correlation between taking steroids and hitting the baseball harder, and a jump in the number of homeruns for the season. You can't simply say, this home run was natural, and that one was ent
          • by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:45PM (#41856247) Homepage

            Is this the largest hurricane ever recorded? Yes.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Atlantic_hurricane_records [wikipedia.org]

            Large is good, the energy is spread out over a greater area. Did you notice (a lot) more people die with the smaller ones?

            You want big, they're weaker Sandy 1 & 2. Katrina was a 5 and smaller and moved more quickly. It had way more energy. Sandy just had the bad taste to hit the NYSE, but really it was fairly unremarkable and wouldn't have raised so much as an eyebrow if it hadn't hit NYC.

            On the bright side it did destroy area and buildings Jersey Shore used for that horrible show which is to date the best argument for the existence of God.

        • Re:Sure it is (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:51PM (#41855263)

          Here's the best analogy I've seen to explain this Global Warming "input" and not necessarily "causation" in a way that even the deniers can understand it;

          Do Steroids make home runs for Barry Bonds? No.
          But do Steroids help that single run turn into a homer? Yes.

          Global Warming doesn't necessarily MAKE all the hurricanes dangerous. But higher ocean levels, warmer surface temps, disruption of weather patterns and more water vapor in the atmosphere intensify it and make extremes more likely.

          Global Warming is like steroids; if your summer breeze is just chilling on the sofa; no home runs.

        • Re:Sure it is (Score:5, Insightful)

          by k10quaint (1344115) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:26PM (#41855897)
          Actually, we (the set of people who took statistics classes in college) will continue to attribute the increased frequency of extreme weather events to global warming. Some of us (the set of people who also possess a sense of humor) will continue to point and laugh at the deniers and lump them in with the birthers, creationists, and moon landing hoax folks. Categorical denial of science is a disease that cannot be cured, only prevented. Educate your children, it is the only effective vaccination against idiocy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Peter and the Wolf being a musical composition aside...

      I've always felt the message of the boy who cried wolf should be; always respond to an alarm especially in instances where ignoring it can lead to death.

    • I don't think unpredictable weather patterns mean global warming is false. In terms of scientific method, saying Sandy was a result of global warming is probably a dramatic overstatement.

      In terms of PR, it's a good move that I agree with because I'm convinced global warming is a threat. It's not the "cleanest" way to get the public and voters on board with curbing carbon emissions, but this is public policy. The fossil fuel industry isn't playing straight either, they're engaging in all the FUD they
      • by Jiro (131519)

        . It's not the "cleanest" way to get the public and voters on board with curbing carbon emissions, but this is public policy.

        Translation: it's okay to lie, since this is for the greater good.

    • Could you clarify who "you guys" is? Recently, I feel like I'm being lumped into a whole lot of different, frequently orthogonal, categories.

      Just a hint: in this case, you guys is Bloomberg Businessweek. In other words, is starting to seep into the bastions of business and corporate bottomline that maybe, just maybe, this entire Climate Change should be something of concern to businesses.

      Yes, they got it wrong, but give them a few years. They are just starting paying attention, so you can't really blame the

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        No he Just want. Obummer to win the election he just endorsed him actually. This just about using fear to put his thumb on the scale and tilt the election. This is always how statists win

    • Re:Sure it is (Score:5, Informative)

      by ideonexus (1257332) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:09PM (#41854741) Homepage Journal

      No. I haven't read that one and neither of you since Peter and the Wolf [wikipedia.org] is a 1936 classical composition by Sergei Prokofiev, where the boy beats the wolf at the end and rescues his animal friends.

      I believe what you meant to refer to is the Aesop fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf [wikipedia.org].

      Thanks for playing though.

      • by Unkyjar (1148699)

        Thank you. I was hoping someone would point this out. Had I mod points, they would be yours.

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:35PM (#41854283) Journal

    Yeah, back in the 1970's the Citigroup Center in New York needed an emergency retrofit due to a design flaw in bolts used to hold the building together. Basically, wind-shear from.. wait for it... a hurricane could topple the building. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citigroup_Center)

    So in the 1970's it was common knowledge that New York could and would be hit by hurricanes and it was considered a real enough threat that the engineers went on an emergency retrofitting job to fix the problem once it was discovered. In 2012 a CAT 1 Hurricane actually hits New York, which was 100% expected, and frankly weaker than predicted hurricanes that could hit New York. Of course these inconvenient facts won't deter the alarmist conclusion: GLOBAL WARMING!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Slashdot: Where tyrrany, repression and genocide are cool as long as the perpertrators suck up to Assange in public.

      Slashdot: where apologist strawmen and know-more-than-the-experts armchair quarterbacks abound.

    • by joebok (457904) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:16PM (#41854825) Homepage Journal

      So in the 70's, engineers and scientists looked at available data and said that the infrastructure may not be adequate to provide safety margins for possible weather conditions -- and you say that was good! (And I agree!)

      And so now, scientists and engineers look at data and suggest that infrastructure may not be adequate to provide safety margins for possible weather conditions -- and you imply that is alarmist!

      Those folks in the 70s did not know for a fact what was going to happen, they made their best estimates and guesses, hedged them for safety and did a cost/benefit analysis and decided to do the retrofit. I don't see why following the same process today makes people "alarmists".

  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:37PM (#41854315) Homepage Journal

    Sure do cause heated debate on Slashdot.

  • ... or even more onerous laws and regulations.

    • If the theories are correct, then the right of industries to emit carbon is at odds with my rights to an unadulterated climate. Alternatively, their externalized costs are becoming our internalized costs. If the government is not the best option to balance our interests, what is? Firearms?
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:38PM (#41854331)
    From Dr. Jeff Masters blog at wunderground.com: [wunderground.com]
    April 5, 2012 - "Expect one of the quietest Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995 this year, say the hurricane forecasting team of Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU) in their latest seasonal forecast issued April 4. They call for an Atlantic hurricane season with below-average activity"
    • That's what you call "predicting" he weather. As good as weather prediction is nowadays, it's still about only 50% correct. The Farmer's Almanac has a better track record.
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Holy shit, that means that instead of these government scientists going too far with their warmist agenda, they're not going far enough!

    • by rs79 (71822)

      Only two hurricanes in the Atlantic season so far. That's way down.

      It's unfortunate one hit NYC, but you do take that risk when you live at sea level on the water.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:40PM (#41854359)

    >> Bloomberg BusinessWeek says

    This is the guy who just banned large sodas, right? Go on...

  • So cyclonic storms are in the October just past are stronger than the average over a short 30 year time period. Notable, but not surprising, as all weather is cyclical.

    It could suggest a more active season or it could be an outlier month. Since we have solar cycles that indeed control the total energy into the surface of the planet, I would suspect that plays the dominant role, but a single data set on only one item, the hurricanes and their strength, is not very significant.

    In other words, is this worth

  • Compare hurricanes for Oct 2012 with the October 1780 atlantic hurricanes and then tell us that. Bloomberg is hot air, stupid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:57PM (#41854565)

    It's NOT global warming stupid. This has happened before. For example:

    In **1938** the New England Hurricane - aka "Long Island Express" hit New York as a Cat 3. Wind was around 120mph, and the storm surge was 18 feet (4+ feet higher than Sandy). Thousands of boats and nearly 10,000 houses were destroyed. There were ~60 deaths recorded, and hundreds of injuries. As the storm progressed, it killed over 600 people in New England and destroyed 50,000+ homes. Total property loss/damage is estimated at ~$5 billion (today's dollars).

    New York has felt the impact of hurricanes, to a greater or lesser extent, over 90 times since 1804. Nothing new here... move along (and send help to the people up there who are suffering right now - they need food, fuel and water - regardless of what nonsense the media is telling you).

    These nut jobs who proclaim global warming and cite all kinds of fabricated or exaggerated "evidence" are the same nut jobs who were proclaiming a global ice age when I was growing up. Wake up people, what we are experiencing is the cyclical nature of nature. Some day we will experience intense heating, and some day we will experience another ice age, and us puny little peons (humans) are completely powerless to cause it or stop it.

    • thank you for that spot on post.
    • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

      These nut jobs who proclaim global warming and cite all kinds of fabricated or exaggerated "evidence" are the same nut jobs who were proclaiming a global ice age when I was growing up.

      Then it's a good thing that the consensus of peer-reviewed research when you were growing up was not in favor of a global ice age.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s-basic.htm [skepticalscience.com]

      At the same time as some scientists were suggesting we might be facing another ice age, a greater number published contradictin

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:01PM (#41854601)

    Sediments indicate that more and stronger hurricanes made landfall in the area in the 13th and 15th century than at any time since European settlement of New England.

    Nothing about Sandy has anything to do with climate change. It was to be expected and people have been warned, though all warnings fell on deaf ears just as in New Orleans. Now, the established procedure is repeated, people moan, complain and blame climate change instead of their incompetent politicians failing to do anything about lack of storm protection for half a century and more - despite the threat being absolutely obvious to anyone daring to have a look at history.

    Unfortunately, the USA is a country that collectively doesn't dare to look back into its own history and is thus constantly surprised by every single repetition of things that happened several times before.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:06PM (#41854673)
    The experts at the NHC can't reliably forecast a given hurricane's strength 3 days in advance, even for the killer systems that undergo rapid intensification, a process which requires massive amounts of energy in a small and narrow zone of the atmosphere (read: should be easy to forecast from their spot atmospheric measurements but is not), yet armchair scientists can somehow surmise that a specific storm did what it did based on the sparse influences of a 100 year global warming weather pattern. It's beyond laughable.
  • We've been building up a lot of energy in the latent heat in the oceans over the last few decades of global warming. Now that the temperatures are no longer rising that energy is going to get spit back out into space somehow, somewhere. This time it happened in Manhattan.

    As long as global cooling continues we are going to see some big storms. The atmosphere is a heat engine. When there is a temperature difference work can get done. This "work" in the atmosphere presents itself as wind and rain. The gr

  • Realistically speaking there is practically NOTHING that can be done about it. Unless a dictator conquers the planet and rules with an iron fist (not what I would want!) the chances of reducing carbon emissions radically enough to make a difference is practically zero.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead