As all hurricane researchers lament, model predictions of when and where hurricanes will intensify, have not improved much in the past 20 years. As recently as the early 2010s, weather model forecasts failed to predict 88 percent of rapidly intensifying tropical storms. Nonetheless National Public Radio (NPR) has ranted that hurricanes are “intensifying more quickly, turning from less-serious storms to very strong ones in hours or days. Superheated ocean waters hold a lot of extra energy, and a growing storm can draw from that enormous pool.” But such “superheated water” is not widespread as rising CO2 narratives suggest, but found only in very limited regions and usually associated with “barrier layers”.
Hurricanes intensify as they draw “superheated” subsurface waters of 65.5°F or higher. However, when a hurricane’s suction pulls up cooler subsurface waters, the hurricane weakens. This negative feedback naturally limits the intensity of all hurricanes. In the upper panel of the attached graphic, Arnand (2023) illustrates where thin barrier layer exists, hurricane intensity hovers around Category 1. In contrast, where thick barrier layers form, cooler deep waters are prevented from reaching the surface, and instead allow superheated sub-surface waters to cause rapid intensification.
Denser fluids don’t naturally rise above less dense fluids! Barrier layer formation happens wherever freshwater overlays dense salty waters. Although solar heating would normally make subsurface waters less dense and rise to the surface, layers with higher saltiness makes the water more dense which inhibits warm convection. That traps and intensifies the subsurface heat, enabling hurricanes to intensify to Category 5.
Hurricane Ian is in the history books, having unleashed its Category 4 fury on southwestern Florida.
Even as the area slowly digs out and rebuilds, the devastation and tragedies will linger in reality and memories.
Ian was the latest of 123 hurricanes to hit the Sunshine State since official recordkeeping began in 1851. But unsurprisingly, some wasted no time trying to link Ian to the most dominant issue of our time. [bold, links added]
The increasing cost of hurricane damage can be explained entirely by more people and more property in harm’s way. Consider how much more developed Miami Beach is today compared to a century ago. Once you adjust for rising wealth, there is no trend of increasing damage.
“After adjusting for a likely undercount of hurricanes in the pre-satellite era,” writes NOAA, “there is essentially no long-term trend in hurricane counts. The evidence for an upward trend is even weaker if we look at U.S. landfalling hurricanes, which even show a slight negative trend beginning from 1900 or from the late 1800s.”
What’s more, NOAA expects a 25% decline in hurricane frequency in the future.
I won’t reprint the whole list, but it’s worth a read.
The list certainly is not all-inclusive. There are many more which could have been added, such as the 150 mph Indianola hurricane in 1886, and Carla in 1961, the 8th and 9th most intense hurricanes on record.
But the list gives a good impression of how catastrophic US hurricanes have always been.
The timeline I have prepared below just covers the period 1900 to 1969 and summarises just how frequent these disastrous hurricanes actually are.
This year’s hurricane season has been unusually quiet. The USA has gotten off easy so far in terms of landfalls and damage, thus once again contradicting all the doomsday scenarios from the climate alarmists.
Mid September is usually the peak of hurricane activity. But right now it’s quiet and there are no threats to the US mainland – for the time being. Here’s the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC):
Potential killer winter on top of acute energy crisis
On another subject, some forecasters have been projecting a milder than normal winter for Europe, which would be welcome with a red carpet due to the continent’s acute energy crisis.
However, Joe notes there are signs this may not be the case. That would mean the coming winter could become – in the current dire energy situation – the Mother of Nightmares: a bitter cold winter with energy outages. In the event of blackouts, which many experts warn have a high chance of occurring, Europe would then be facing a humanitarian and economic crisis on a scale not seen in a very long time.
“Look at what the surface maps are showing,” Bastardi says. “When you have high pressure over Greenland and Iceland, and low pressure over Spain like that, folks, that is an ugly looking situation for the winter. That is similar to 2010/11.”
Pielke notes five points of fact about hurricanes:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds “no consensus” on the relative role of human influences on Atlantic hurricane activity, quoting the IPCC as follows: “there is still no consensus on the relative magnitude of human and natural influences on past changes in Atlantic hurricane activity, … and it remains uncertain whether past changes in Atlantic TC activity are outside the range of natural variability.”
“The IPCC has concluded that since 1900 there is ‘no trend in the frequency of USA landfall events.’ This goes for all hurricanes and also for the strongest hurricanes, called major hurricanes.”
“Since at least 1980, there are no clear trends in overall global hurricane and major hurricane activity.”
“There are many characteristics of tropical cyclones that are under study and hypothesized to be potentially affected by human influences, … but at present there is not a unified community consensus on these hypotheses, as summarized by the World Meteorological Organization,” as to whether any of the factors are affected by human greenhouse gas emissions.
“Hurricanes are common, incredibly destructive and will always be with us. Even so, we have learned a lot about how to prepare and recover.”
Pielke points out that some of the costliest hurricanes occurred in the early part of the twentieth century when average global temperatures were cooler than at present.
Good news: a warmer, likely tamer climate, is in the future recent science shows. A new study projects no future increase in tropical storm energy.
Lots of government-funded climate scientists like claiming tropical cyclones are getting worse and that in the future we need to expect one supercharged storm after another – due to man heating the climate with carbon dioxide emissions.
But as we noted yesterday here, Zoe Phin found that hurricanes have not gone along with this dubious doomsday science over the past 25 years. Now a new study confirms things will continue that way.
In the segment, DkS cites a new study appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters, where a team of scientists led by Philip Kreussler used three different global climate models to investigate tropical cyclone integrated kinetic energy which is closely associated with their damage potential.
It is true that there were more named storms, which includes tropical storms as well as hurricanes, this season than in any other year, but this is quite meaningless. Over the years, reporting practices have drastically changed, so that more storms are spotted and named now.
PBS News Hour attacked climate science this weekend, publishing alarmist claims about hurricanes and wildfires that defy findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In an interview between PBS reporter Hari Sreenivasan and Andrew Freedman, editor of Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, the two journalists blamed global warming for severe wildfires and hurricanes.
According to the IPCC, however, there is little or no evidence indicating global warming is impacting hurricanes or drought.
Figure 1: Total wildfire acreage burned by year in the United States, 1926 to 2019. Data from NIFC. Graph by meteorologist Anthony Watts
There have been six hurricanes in total, including three major ones, Dorian, Humberto and Lorenzo. Coincidentally both numbers are the same as the average since 1950.
According to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, many hurricanes were missed in the earlier decades. Systematic aircraft reconnaissance began in 1944, but this only covered half of the Atlantic basin, until daily satellite monitoring started in 1966.
by J. Curry, Sep; 9, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
I used to be concerned about ‘consensus enforcement’ on the topic of climate change. Now I am concerned about ‘alarmism enforcement.’
Ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, any hurricane causing catastrophic damage has been seized upon by climate alarmists as evidence of the horrors of global warming.
As if the record-holding hurricanes from the 1920s through the 1950s never happened.
The catastrophic damage to the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian is no different. The ‘official’ statement from the alarmist contingent of climate scientists appears to be this article in the Guardian, by Mann and Dessler:
Unfortunately for the alarmists, there are several factors that are getting in the way of the public promotion of the Mann/Dessler narrative:
Alabama-gate: President Trump’s insistence on defending his erroneous statements about the forecasts for Dorian impacting Alabama. A good article summarizing all this was co-authored by one of my former students at Georgia Tech, Brandon Miller [link].
After the Alabama National Weather Service office made a statement that Alabama was not at risk from Dorian, NOAA issued a statement defending President Trump [link].
A WaPo article describes this latest development [link], and the subsequent outrage among scientists and NOAA employees (past and present.
This whole situation is taking the oxygen out of the room in terms of discussions regarding Dorian and global warming. Gotta wonder if this was the strategy?
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, the second most powerful to git the US coast. The strongest was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.
The NWS has issued this press release:
Hurricane Camille August 17, 1969
Late in the evening on August 17 in 1969, Hurricane Camille made landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast near Waveland, MS. Camille is one of only FOUR Category 5 hurricanes ever to make landfall in the continental United States (Atlantic Basin) – the others being the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which impacted the Florida Keys; Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which impacted south Florida; and Hurricane Michael in 2018, which impacted the Florida panhandle. (Note: It is worth mentioning that the 1928 San Felipe Hurricane made landfall as a Category 5 Hurricane on Puerto Rico)
Camille ranks as the 2nd most intense hurricane to strike the continental US with 900 mb pressure and landfall intensity of 150 knots. Camille ranks just below the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane with 892 mb and 160 knots, while slightly stronger than Hurricane Andrew with 922 mb and 145 knots and Hurricane Michael with 919 mb and 140 knots. The actual maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Camille are not known as the hurricane destroyed all the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. Re-analysis data found peak winds of 150 knots (roughly 175 mph) along the coast. A devastating storm tide of 24.6 feet occurred west of our area in Pass Christian, MS.
Watching the current maps and models, it appears the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is off to a slow start. For people that the depend on disaster porn (climate alarmists, media) that means no weather events to claim as being climate driven.
Politics versus science in attributing extreme weather events to manmade global warming.
If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that I was scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Jun 12 [link]. The subject of the Hearing is Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change.
Late on Jun 10, I received an email telling me that the Hearing is postponed (as yet unscheduled). Apparently the Committee finds it more urgent to have a Hearing related to holding the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress [link]. Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.
So I spent all last week working on my testimony (which is why there have been no new blog posts). I hope the Hearing will eventually happen (Michael Mann is also scheduled to testify).
Hurricanes and climate change constitute a major portion of my testimony. You may recall my recent series on Hurricanes & climate change [link]. Specifically with regards to detection and attribution, my bottom line conclusion was:
“In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes. Manmade climate change may have caused changes in hurricane activity that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of these changes compared to estimated natural variability, or due to observational limitations. But at this point, there is no convincing evidence that manmade global warming has caused a change in hurricane activity.”
Ces deux dernières années ont été marquées par une activité cyclonique supérieure aux moyennes statistiques en Atlantique Nord, notamment en 2017 avec des phénomènes puissants tels Irma et Maria dans les Caraïbes. Cette année, alors que la saison démarre officiellement le 1er juin, nos prévisions sont plus rassurantes avec la perspective d’une activité cyclonique légèrement plus faible que la moyenne.
En ce début d’été météorologique, la saison cyclonique débute dans l’Atlantique nord (les ouragans). Cette saison s’étend officiellement du 1er juin au 30 novembre, avec un pic d’activité d’août à octobre. Il est donc l’heure pour les différents organismes météo de la planète et les météorologues et climatologues de La Chaîne Météo de se pencher sur les prévisions de cette saison à venir.
En 2017, la saison dans l’océan Atlantique nord a figuré parmi les plus actives depuis le début des relevés, avec des phénomènes dévastateurs (Harvey, Irma ou encore Maria dans les Caraïbes). Comme 2017, la saison 2018 s’est située au-dessus des moyennes (calculées par la NOAA d’après la période 1981/2010). Cette dernière saison a présenté, pour l’Atlantique nord, 15 phénomènes cycloniques, avec 8 ouragans dont 2 qui ont atteint la catégorie 3 sur 5, qualifiés alors de “majeurs”.
El Nino and warmer-than-average Atlantic help shape this season’s intensity
From NOAA press release:
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting that a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. This outlook forecasts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season. The hurricane season officially extends from June 1 to November 30.
For 2019, NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
Seasonal #hurricane forecast from @ColoradoStateU predicts slightly below-average season: 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes & 2 major (Cat 3+, >=111 mph) hurricanes. Primary reason for slightly below-avg forecast is anticipated continuation of weak #ElNino.
We anticipate that the 2019 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have slightly belownormal activity. The current weak El Niño event appears likely to persist and perhaps even strengthen this summer/fall. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are slightly below normal, and the far North Atlantic is anomalously cool.
Our Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index is below its long-term average. We anticipate a slightly below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean. As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.
PROBABILITIES FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE LANDFALL ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING COASTAL AREAS:
1) Entire continental U.S. coastline – 48% (average for last century is 52%)
2) U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida – 28% (average for last century is 31%)
3) Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville – 28% (average for last century is 30%)
PROBABILITY FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE TRACKING INTO THE CARIBBEAN
(10-20°N, 88-60°W) 1) 39% (average for last century is 42%)
Sediment cores from Western Lake provide a 7000-yr record of coastal environmental changes and catastrophic hurricane landfalls along the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle. Using Hurricane Opal as a modern analog, we infer that overwash sand layers occurring near the center of the lake were caused by catastrophic hurricanes of category 4 or 5 intensity. Few catastrophic hurricanes struck the Western Lake area during two quiescent periods 3400–5000 and 0–1000 14C yr B.P. The landfall probabilities increased dramatically to ca. 0.5% per yr during an “hyperactive” period from 1000–3400 14C yr B.P., especially in the first millennium A.D. The millennial-scale variability in catastrophic hurricane landfalls along the Gulf Coast is probably controlled by shifts in the position of the jet stream and the Bermuda High.
I’ve updated a plot of Florida major hurricane strikes since 1900 with Hurricane Michael, and the result is that there is still no trend in either intensity or frequency of strikes over the last 118 years:
La géologie, une science plus que passionnante … et diverse