IT WAS inevitable that the severity of the recent hurricane Sandy on the eastern coast of USA would be blamed on human-induced climate change. (J Byatt, TCN 7/11/12).
However recent comments by American scientists indicated that there is no scientific basis to claim that global warming caused or strengthened this hurricane. Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and a leading researcher on hurricane history, wrote: “To call Sandy a harbinger of a new ‘normal’, in which unprecedented weather events cause unprecedented destruction, would be wrong . . . planet Earth is a dangerous place, where extreme events are commonplace and disasters are to be expected.” He also wrote:
“The last category 3 or stronger storm to make landfall was Wilma in 2005. The more than seven years since then is the longest such span in over a century.”
The scientific journal Nature warned “Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming”.
Climatologist John Christy, of the University of Alabama, told Congress in September that there is no evidence that global warming has caused, or will cause, more frequent or severe weather events.
Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center quoted in a lecture, just days before Sandy struck, studies showing that by 2100 there will be no more than a 3 per cent increase in average hurricane intensity. He also quoted other studies indicating that Atlantic hurricanes, for reasons peculiar to the region, would actually become weaker with global warming, and that there has been “a big decrease in the overall frequency” of hurricanes, and “fewer major hurricanes”.
The reason why hurricanes seem to do so much more damage today than in the past is because there is now much more property in the hurricanes’ paths. The great Miami hurricane of 1926 caused about $100 million in property damage (in today’s dollars). According to Landsea, if one just like it struck Miami today, it would cause about $165 billion in property damage.
No matter how many times climate-change alarmists tell us that the frequency and severity of exceptional weather events are increasing as a result of global warming, their claims are not supported by objective scientific studies.