Hurricane Hysteria Season

Hurricane season actually spans two seasons, summer and fall, beginning June 1 and ending November 30. We are well into the 2019 season with Hurricane Dorian bearing down on mainland US at the time of this writing.

Given the left’s penchant for turning normal everyday events into something political, former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell was “rooting” for this current hurricane to hit President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. If I watched CNN, I might have seen a panel of Trump haters discussing this delicious possibility.

Predictably stories appeared tying the hurricane to climate change, with the familiar warning, “Global warming, like Hurricane Dorian, is real. We need to deal with both while there is still time.”

It’s funny how the clock is always running out on doing something before it’s too late. Al Gore, in 2006, predicted that in ten years we would pass “a point of no return.”

Rep Alexandria Occasional-Cortex recently reset the clock to 12 years, giving us another decade to get it right with global warming. Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang respectfully disagrees with AOC, saying it’s already “too late” and that Americans should move to higher ground.

If it’s too late, why is he bothering to run for president? He should be happy to let the world end on Donald Trump’s watch.

We are told the “science is settled,” that “climate change is making hurricanes more dangerous.” So says an article from Yale Climate Connections. This is the same university that produced the Clinton as well as self-appointed psychiatrist-in-chief Bandy Lee who, despite never examining the president, has determined that he is a “national and global emergency.”

Funny I thought climate change was the national and global emergency. Perhaps CNN could hold a town hall meeting to discuss whether Trump or global warming is the bigger existential threat to the planet. Bandy Lee and Joy Behar could lead the discussion.

Hurricanes are certainly more costly now compared to decades and centuries ago. Much of the country along the southern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico was once swamp land. Hurricanes then were beneficial, serving as a rejuvenation of coastal land, bringing needed rainfall, breaking up bacteria and red tide, balancing global heat, replenishing barrier islands and restoring inland plant life.

Now the southern coast is built up with hotels, condos, marinas, and shopping centers. Much of the coast is covered with roads, buildings, and parking lots, providing nowhere for rainfall to drain, leading to massive flooding. Some cities, such as New Orleans, were built below sea level, in hindsight, foolish for a city in the potential path of hurricanes.

A major storm hitting Miami or Pensacola today is far more financially devastating compared to the same storm 500 or 5000 years ago.

There is also much more focus on hurricanes. Satellite monitoring and the 24-hour news cycle allows hurricane predictions to begin a week ahead of time, when the hurricane is still a tropical storm. Spaghetti line plots predict all possible courses for an Atlantic hurricane, from turning south around Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, to landfall anywhere along the eastern seaboard, to veering harmlessly out to sea.

Each line interestingly is based on a computer model, the same type of models predicting global warming and its consequences. At best, only one of the spaghetti lines will be correct, the rest wildly wrong. Yet we are to believe similar models predicting the doom and gloom that Al Gore and AOC warn us about?

Despite satellites, computer models, ocean buoys, and other means of predicting and monitoring hurricanes, forecasting is still an inexact science. For Hurricane Dorian, on Thursday a direct hit on South Florida was predicted, prompting much media speculation about Mar-a-Lago and Rush Limbaugh being at ground zero for landfall.                                                              

Two days later on Saturday, predictions were shifting northward with landfall in Georgia, the Carolinas or out to sea. President Trump was wise to not encourage mandatory South Florida evacuation. Imagine telling Florida residents to head north, which could be right in the revised path of the hurricane.

Here is the Dorian plot from August 29.

YouTube screen grab

Two days later on August 31, the spaghetti lines have moved from Florida to further up the coast or out to sea. How interesting that scientists cannot predict the path of a hurricane over several days, yet they are confident in predicting global temperatures decades in advance.

YouTube screen shot.

Are hurricanes actually becoming more frequent and severe? Bloomberg says they are. But are they really? I did my own research with the assistance of the Stormfax Weather Almanac, which has chronicled US mainland hurricanes by decade since 1851. They recorded hurricanes by year and strength using the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. They ended their list with 2016, but it was easy to add the 3 category 4 storms of 2017 and Hurricanes Florence and Michael last year. I created the two below plots.

Both hurricanes by decade and average strength by decade are relatively flat lines, showing little change over the past 170 years.

Modern science allows more accurate recording of hurricane strength, with a post analysis upgrade of Hurricane Michael last year from category four to five, after the fact, upgrades which could not have occurred decades ago.

The media believes history began when they received their first byline. Hurricanes began long before CNN began broadcasting or the New York Times began publishing. My plots above represent 170 years of 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history, a blink of an eye in the history of the world. Were there hurricanes hundreds, thousand, and millions of years ago?

In fact, past hurricanes, before accurately reported history, were far more intense. From the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, “Intense hurricanes, possibly more powerful than any storms New England has experienced in recorded history, frequently pounded the region during the first millennium.”

They went on, “The intense prehistoric hurricanes documented by the study were fueled in part by warmer sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean during the ancient period investigated in the study.” How could the oceans be warmer a thousand years ago, before toxically masculine backyard barbeques and gas guzzling SUVs?

Yet the hurricane hysteria will continue, despite logic and science reminding us that hurricanes are a normal part of the Earth’s ecosystem, as natural as rain, snow, and seasons. If scientists can’t accurately predict the path of a storm days in advance, how can they predict global temperatures decades ahead?

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician, freelance writer and occasional radio talk show host whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.

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