Sunday, November 4, 2012

"We're currently in a relative hurricane drought..."

Honest climate scientist (yes, they do exist!) Roger Pielke debunks the meretricious claims by climate hysterics that hurricane Sandy is caused by man-made global cooling global warming climate change climate instability.

[T]o call Sandy a harbinger of a "new normal," in which unprecedented weather events cause unprecedented destruction, would be wrong. This historic storm should remind us that planet Earth is a dangerous place, where extreme events are commonplace and disasters are to be expected. In the proper context, Sandy is less an example of how bad things can get than a reminder that they could be much worse.

In studying hurricanes, we can make rough comparisons over time by adjusting past losses to account for inflation and the growth of coastal communities. If Sandy causes $20 billion in damage (in 2012 dollars), it would rank as the 17th most damaging hurricane or tropical storm (out of 242) to hit the U.S. since 1900—a significant event, but not close to the top 10. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 tops the list (according to estimates by the catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT), as it would cause $180 billion in damage if it were to strike today. Hurricane Katrina ranks fourth at $85 billion.
To put things into even starker perspective, consider that from August 1954 through August 1955, the East Coast saw three different storms make landfall—Carol, Hazel and Diane—that in 2012 each would have caused about twice as much damage as Sandy.

While it's hardly mentioned in the media, the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane "drought." 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 attribution of Hurricane Sandy to "global warming" is category five junk science.


  1. Pelke's estimate of economic damages from Sandy are outdated. The latest estimates range from 30 to 50 billion US dollars. That would put Sandy well in Pelke's top ten list (as high as number 6).

  2. I donno, Doc. How many such storms have done that kind of damage to New York state in the last hundred years? Seems to me something is going on. Not sure it's human caused, but what harm is there in investing in lower-pollution/higher-efficiency technologies alongside drilling and tar sands extraction?

  3. Whenever a hurricane strikes people act as if hurricanes are a recent phenomenon. That somehow "proves" global warming is a fact.

    Little John

  4. Can you cite any climate scientists that try to make a case that Sandy is the result of global warming?

    At best they claim that the frequency of storms like Sandy will increase if the global temperature rises.

    But Jesus wouldn't allow that to happen,right? Except when he wants to punish the gayz apparently, according to some spokesmen for Jesus.

  5. 'der Spiegel' this week had a long Schadenfreude article on the decline and fall of the world's last superpower, America. The hurricane Sandy featured prominently. And it wasn't because of the Republicans' refusal to recognize human induced global warming. A lot of the damage in New York resulted because America has been underfunding public infrastructure for decades. It's ridiculous that New York doesn't have tidal surge barriers. And 'der Spiegel' notes that Republicans are largely to blame, wanting to gut public expenditure to reduce taxation on the rich.

    Much of America's infrastructure, nationwide, is ramshackle, including roads, bridges and railways. Obama wanted to fund an upgrade of the nation's railways, but Republican governors refused to accept the funding.

    'New Statesman' is worried at the prospect of a Romney victory, particularly if he does what he says he wants to do - cut public spending by a quarter and welfare spending by a much larger percentage. Exactly what David Cameron did in Britain, resulting in a double-dip recession and a worsening not improvement in the government's fiscal position.

    'New Statesman' is worried that Romney will induce a recession in America, making the global position even more dire. America is growing, albeit slowly, but Romney will just make the situation much worse.

    1. bachfiend,
      Interesting assumption in your post. I think I could call it the "trickle-up" assumption: the more money paid out in welfare and General Assistance checks, the more money gets spent into the economy, and thus funds businesses that create jobs. Sort of like the trickle-down theory, except the lower levels of the economic ladder are more inclined to spend a larger chunk of the cash they get, so you get more bang per buck when you give stimulus dollars to the poor than when you give them to the rich. (Big banks are sitting on TARP funds right now, because they see that as a sounder investment than investing it in industry.) Stimulate the economy from the bottom up, rather than the other way around, right?

      I am curious as to how the Randians, Libertarians, and trickle-down proponents on this blog would respond to that assumption.

    2. John Henry,

      Yes, that's exactly the argument. Australia managed to avoid much of the GFC. One of the measures the Australian government took was to give 'everyone' a credit (I think it was $700 or $1000) means tested (I didn't get it because my income was too high) meant to be spent immediately to stop the economy falling off the cliff. If I'd got it, I would have just banked it, or perhaps gone on an overseas holiday?

      I find Michael's arguments about tax to be a laugh. I consider myself to be very rich, obscenely rich. My income last year was $146,000 and I paid $42,000 in income tax (around 28%), and I still have income I can't spend because there isn't much that I want to buy 'the man with the most toys still dies' and all that.

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