August 2, 2006
The Inconvenient Truth: Hurricanes and Global WarmingBy Noel Sheppard
Since Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans last summer, there has been a lot of media and left—wing speculation that the apparition called global warming is responsible for an upsurge in hurricane activity and intensity. Fortunately, for those seeking sanity amidst the hysteria, a new study written by a group that includes two members of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration published in this week's Science Magazine refutes this contention.
Since this phantom meteorological nexus was first introduced to the public, it has become almost commonplace in the lexicon of the new religious cult known as the Global Warmingists, and is a mainstay of the sect's leader, famed political scientist sans climatology degree Dr. Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. In fact, this is a central tenet in Gore's recent schlockumentary, An Inconvenient Truth, as evidenced by the following passages at the movie's website:
Yet, as first reported by Martin Merzer of the Miami Herald on June 27, not all scientists are drinking Gore's Kool—Aid:
Why do the authors believe the assertions of the Global Warmingists are all wet?
This seems quite logical; Landsea, one of the leading hurricane researchers and experts in the nation, asked a pivotal question to drive home the point:
In reality, this part of the global warming debate began about a month before Hurricane Katrina made landfall last year when Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote a paper for Nature magazine entitled 'Increasing Destructiveness of Tropical Cyclones Over the Past 30 Years.' As Merzer observed:
As one can imagine, for such statements, Emanuel became almost a pop hero to the mainstream media after Hurricane Katrina hit. He was even named to Time magazine's 'Top 100 People Who Shape Our World' list with an article about him entitled 'The Man Who Saw Katrina Coming' that amazingly concluded:
Yet, according to Merzer, Landsea and his team don't agree with Emanuel's findings:
In fact, many meteorologists and climatologists have been warning for a number of years that hurricane activity is indeed cyclical, and that after a sub—normal period that began in the '70s, some increase in activity was to be expected:
However, the crux of the debate rests with technological enhancements to science and instrumentation in the past couple of decades that Emanuel appears to have ignored:
Landsea and his team offered as an example a 1970 storm in Bangladesh that killed over 300,000 people:
Yet, using 1970 technology, this devastating natural disaster wasn't even considered a hurricane at the time. As Landsea astutely pointed out:
How vast has the improvement to meteorological technology been?
That is no less than a threefold increase in hurricane measurement capability. Might this be responsible for the detection of more storms today of greater magnitude? Obviously, Landsea et al believe so.
To put this in proper perspective, in 1975, Americans weren't walking around with cellular phones in their pockets, or sitting in their dens with computers on their laps possessing the processing power of many buildings worth of IBM mainframes. Consider, too, how technology has advanced medicine in the past 30 years, and what C—T scans and MRIs can detect today versus back then.
Unfortunately, though every member of the media today directly benefits from such technological enhancements in their professional and private lives, few seem willing to consider how this is impacting the fields of meteorology and climatology.
Since Merzer filed his report last Thursday, with Landsea et al's full article published the following day, virtually no mainstream media outlet has paid much attention. A LexisNexis search identified absolutely no television coverage of this study on any of the broadcast networks or cable news channels. And, America's leading dailies have either not reported the findings, or have completely buried it as indicated by the following Google news search.
I guess it's safe to say that the legacy media will only report studies that support their Global Warmingist philosophies, and that Landsea certainly won't be one of Time's 'Top 100 People Who Shape Our World' next year.
Noel Sheppard is a frequent contributor to The American Thinker. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog, as well as contributing writer to its Business & Media Institute. Noel welcomes feedback.