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Hurricanes and global warming

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Cosmo, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I know we have some weatherniks here, and I got to thinking about this today. After last year's disastrous hurricane season, it's been relatively quiet here this year. No category fives (knock on wood). No even real major wind threats to the U.S. mainland this year. Now that we're getting toward the end of October, we're almost completely out of the woods (save for a freak-like Wilma type of storm forming in November in the deep Carribean).

    So as much as people thought last year's monster season was a direct result of global warming, what do we think now? Was last year a total fluke? Is this year a total fluke?

    Just curious what some of you think (especially Mystery Meat, Fuerte, JD and other weather nuts ...)
  2. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I'm not a weather nut, but I know I've read somewhere that the mere presence of global warming can increase the likelihood of storms. That being said, it's not clear if you're implying that because there haven't been any storms, global warming isn't a factor.
  3. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    On a related note, Newsweek said it was wrong in 1975 to say that another Ice Age was coming, and re-states its fervent belief that very soon, Eskimos will be opening tropical resorts near the Arctic Circle.

    Thirty years from now, it will be another Ice Age doom and gloom issue.
  4. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I really don't have a take on the relationship between the two, Alley. My thought is that there was a knee-jerk reaction last year when two brutal hurricanes formed one right after the other in the Gulf, and the universal reaction was "it was global warming."

    If that's the case, wouldn't the trend continue this year?

    Just trying to foster a discussion, that's all. :)
  5. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    Well, Cosmo (Kramer?), this year's weather makes all the lefty claims and predictions look stupid, so there will be no discussion allowed. In fact, unless this thread dies quietly, you can expect yourself to be the target of numerous insults from the "enlightened" left.
  6. Left_Coast

    Left_Coast Active Member

    I read a story today that said because an unexpected El Nino developed this year that it produced a lot more wind sheer in the Atlantic and cut down on the number of storms this year, well below what was forecast.
  7. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    One thing people failed to recognize last year was that the global hurricane output for 2006 was actually pretty close to normal, monster Atlantic season notwithstanding. The Eastern Pacific had a normal year for named systems and a slightly below-normal year for hurricanes, and that had been the case for a few years (paralleling the Atlantic's upswing). I can't find the wikipedia site that I saw this on the first time, but I believe the Atlantic and the South Pacific were the only basins to see above-average storm development, and the Western Pacific (which is almost always the most active area for hurricane/typhoon development) was down.

    Last year had the right combination for explosive storm development -- already-warm waters that were a degree higher than normal in the Gulf, plus waters that ran warm deeper, which gives hurricanes a higher maximum intensity ability (that's why a Category 5 won't hit New York -- you need waters well above 85 degrees to sustain a storm of that magnitude, and in fact Camille is the furthest north a Cat 5 has ever been in the Atlantic). And the upper-level winds favored development.

    This year was supposed to be bad, but in the early part of the season, tropical waves crossing the Atlantic were killed on sight by unusual amounts of dry air and dust from the Saharan deserts (you could see it on satellite images). If a disturbance developed further west, like in the Carribean or Gulf, it often got sheared by strong upper-level winds that, as it turned out, were the product of an unexpected El Nino starting up in the Pacific (warmer waters in the Pacific lead to a change in the wind patterns that make for big seasons in the Pacific and smaller ones in the Atlantic).

    The best argument anyone can make about global warming vis-a-vis hurricanes is that the warmer waters allow storms to be stronger (90-degree water is more conducive for high-end development than 86-degree water). But last year's explosion in storms were probably an anomaly in a 30-year period of higher storm frequency (hurricane meterologists, regardless their stand on global warming's relationship with tropical cyclones, agree that development ebbs and flows in 30-year cycles, and they've been calling for a bad cycle to start for some time, one that kicked off in 1995 with an 18-storm season).

    We're almost certainly safe this year, because the upper-wind patterns are even worse for hurricane development now than they were in August, and of course water temperatures are dropping to below-tenable levels except in the southern Gulf and the Carribean.
  8. Why listen to people at NASA, or at MIT, or the people who know the most about global weather patterns when we can listen to the radio and pre-emptively play victim on a message board.
    old_tony -- new heights in trollery.
  9. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Wow, so instead of actually addressing the issue of storms, you play the role of political martyr. WTF?

  10. Because it's all he knows how to do?
    It's become a knee-jerk on the American right.
  11. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    My original response on this thread was to try and find out more about what Cosmo was asking, not to turn it into a political battle. Apparently that's all Tony wants this to be.

    So Tony, if there's global warming but no hurricanes, then logic dictates there's really no global warming, right?
  12. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    as always, mystery meat is right on the money. but left_coast makes a good point, which is that el nino developed unexpectedly, which is why the 2006 season was not as bad as anticipated. no one can predict when an el nino will develop. i'm no "weathernik" as cosmo says, but i live in miami and had a blue tarp on my roof for about eight months, so the absence of hurricanes is a good thing as far as i'm concerned.
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