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Earth Science

Atlantic Hurricane Season 30 Percent Stronger Than Normal 448

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 on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:19PM (#41854079)

    But then they limited the dates didnt fit their narrative.

  • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:27PM (#41854175)

    Maybe 30% above the mild seasons we've had since Katrina. You know, the "OMGWEREALLGONNADIE" hurricane seasons were supposed to start having due to global warming. Now we have a storm that briefly peaked at CAT2, and did most of its damage as a CAT1, and the chicken littles are out in force again.

  • 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).

  • 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 wiedzmin ( 1269816 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:33PM (#41854261)

    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:Sure it is (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:39PM (#41854339) Homepage

    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 Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:49PM (#41854477) Homepage

    ... 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 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.

  • "chicken littles" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:52PM (#41854509) Homepage Journal

    would those be the people who died or are currently without power or heat around NYC you are referring to?

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:56PM (#41854551) Journal

    What's the average deviation? Last time I heard expert meteorologists talking like this, it was right after Katrina, predicting the next year would be severe, too, which it wasn't, demonstrating complete ignorance of statistics, regression to the mean, and chaos theory.

    Given it was attempts to simulate and predict weather that lead to the discovery of chaos theory and the butterfly effect, this is particularly shameful.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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".

  • Re:Sure it is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:17PM (#41854841)
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by joebok ( 457904 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:57PM (#41855347) Homepage Journal

    They did not know NYC would be hit by a hurricane, they knew it COULD be hit by a hurricane and took precautions.

    I have smoke detectors not because I know there will be a fire, but because I know there COULD be a fire, so I take precautions. I spend money on batteries for the detectors and I also have an extinguisher I occasionally have to replace. I have never once had a fire in my house - am I an alarmist?

    No. Both cases are looking at the range of possibilities, hedging for safety, and making a cost/benefit analysis.

    The article was not merely about Sandy hitting NYC, but rather about a possible upward trend in severity and possible relationships between that uptick and observations that are generally associated with global climate change theories (increased sea and air temperatures and changes in global weather patterns). There is clearly evidence that global warming COULD be an issue. Only a fool would disregard the possibility. So, like Woodsy Owl used to say "give a hoot, don't pollute"!

  • 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 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.

  • 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:30% stronger... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Krojack ( 575051 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:28PM (#41855961)

    One could also say the far left has also lost all touch with reality []. Goes both ways.

    Yes I believe the earth is getting warmer.
    Yes I believe humans have help the earth get warmer.
    No I don't believe the warming is all from humans. I personally believe it's a small part but we're helping nonetheless.
    Yes the earth has had warmer spans in it's past history before humans. Ice cores from Greenland prove this.
    No the far left won't acknowledge the earth was warmer in the past even though their dear scientist confirmed it.
    No the far left won't include weather history before the year 1900.

    We need oil and always will. We still don't have a good technology for long term eco friendly travel at an affordable price that doesn't rely on oil. Middle ground needs to be found in the meantime till we have that technology.

    I, sadly, will not be voting for either. In my mind they are both exactly the same. They are after all politicians. They are both professionals at speaking out both sides of their mouths.

  • 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.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."