Is Mankind Causing Worse Hurricanes?

If warming causes worse hurricanes, then we should observe fewer and weaker hurricanes during the Little Ice Age. The following paper finds the opposite.

Michael J. Burna and Suzanne E. Palmer examine “Atlantic hurricane activity during the last millennium”. Although their paper is highly technical, its methods and findings are clear.

“”Here, we present the Extended Hurricane Activity (EHA) index, the first empirical reconstruction of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity for the last millennium, derived from a high-resolution lake sediment geochemical record from Jamaica.”

Looking at a 1,000 year period is a good approach. We can’t really understand global climate changes without observing repeated up-down-up-down variations in the factors that drive climate changes. Advocates of man-made global warming typically cite the past 120-140 years of data, but this is way too short a period from which to figure out climate changes. This represents a single exceedingly short episode in Earth’s climate history.

The conclusion of this paper reads

“Our results corroborate evidence for the increasing trend of hurricane activity during the Industrial Era; however, we show that contemporary activity has not exceeded the range of natural climate variability exhibited during the last millennium.”

No abnormal hurricane activity is present in our industrial era as compared with that in the past 1,000 years. But there is more.

If warming causes more and worse hurricanes, then we should find that hurricane activity and strength diminishes during the Little Ice Age (LIA). The evidence in this paper finds the opposite:

“The highest average levels of activity (EHA ~ 86 × 102 kt2; 1580–1650 CE) occurred during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries, a trend corroborated by a coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model simulation of annual basin-wide tropical cyclone counts, which indicates heightened activity during the LIA (Fig. 4d). Further support for enhanced activity during the LIA comes from a record of hurricane deposits in a coastal karst basin in the Bahamas, which suggests heightened activity occurred between 1350 and 1650. This important result suggests that average hurricane activity during the industrial period has not exceeded its longer-term natural variability during the last millennium.” (Emphasis added.)

In my opinion, the focus on the last 120-140 years of temperature is improper scientific method, not affording enough natural variability to understand climate changes. The long record study cited above does not show anything unusual going on concerning hurricanes.

In my opinion, the idea that we human beings are creating bigger hurricanes is wildly implausible. The sun-earth system of physical forces and the earth’s own system of forces have to overwhelm anything we might be doing. This thinking is based on the size and strength of those earthly forces that we have always been exposed to on the planet going back 1000s of years: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, shifts in solar activity, huge ice ages, asteroids hitting us, wobbling in our orbit, changes in the earth’s tilt, changes in the positions of the continents and seas, and changes in Earth’s molten core.


8:46 am on December 6, 2018