Wednesday, August 31, 2005

 

RFK Jr Blames Bush for Hurricane Katrina

In a column in the blog, Ariana Huffington Post, RFK Jr. blames Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing damage on George Bush and Haley Barbour. Kennedy bases this on global warming theory and Bush/Barbour's failure to support the Kyoto Protocol.

Kennedy's scientific evidence is this:
Well, the science is clear. This month, a study published in the journal Nature by a renowned MIT climatologist linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.


Nature

This climatologist is Kerry Emanuel.

From a position paper by Kerry Emanuel at his MIT website:
Neither basic theory nor numerical climate simulation is well enough advanced to predict how tropical cyclone frequency might change with changing climate, and both give conflicting results on the change of tropical cyclone frequency on doubling atmospheric . There is no physical basis, however, for claims that the total area prone to tropical cyclogenesis would increase. The new field of paleotempestology entails the use of a variety of techniques for deducing the long-term history of hurricane activity from the geological record. Pushing the record of landfalling tropical cyclones well back into prehistory, perhaps even to the last ice age, may be the key to understanding from an empirical standpoint the relationship between tropical cyclone activity and climate.

More from the same:
Further progress in confronting the important relationship between tropical cyclone activity and climate will be limited unless there are fundamental advances in understanding the basic physics of hurricanes.


Emanuel is quoted as saying this in the Aug. 30, 2005 LA Times:
People are beginning to seriously wonder whether there is a [global warming] signal there. I think you are going to see a lot more of a focus on this in coming years.


Sounds like Mr. Kennedy is overstating Mr. Emanuel's position even if Mr. Emanuel has some concerns. Plus, let's remember, Mr. Emanuel is a professor at an institution located in Mr. Kennedy's home state where the Kennedy family is royalty.

And this from the same LA Times article:
There is absolutely no empirical evidence. The people who have a bias in favor of the argument that humans are making the globe warmer will push any data that suggests that humans are making hurricanes worse, but it just isn't so," said William Gray, a Colorado State University meteorologist who is considered one of the fathers of modern tropical cyclone science and who sharply questions Emanuel's conclusions.

A lot of my colleagues who have been around a long time are very skeptical of this idea that global warming is leading to more frequent or intense storms," Gray said. "In the Atlantic, there has been a change recently, sure. But if you go back to the 1930s, you see a lot of storms again. These are natural cycles, not related to changes in global temperature. I can't say there is no human signal there, but it's minute.


And a few figures of my own; average wind speeds based on National Hurricane Center figures. I calculated average wind speed (minimum and maximum by category strenght; for category I used 175 mph which was the maximum sustained wind speed of Hurricane Gilbert, 1988, the "strongest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record with a minimum pressure of 888 mb" of all hurricanes by decade since 1850. As you can see the 1960's lead the pack. Several decades out pace the 1990's and the current decade to date.

Year            Avg. WS Min    Avg WS Max
1851-1860      92.53          111.32
1861-1870      85.27          103.33
1871-1880      93.55          111.75
1881-1890      92.32          110.23
1891-1900      96.19          115.48
1901-1910      87.11          106.11
1911-1920      93.38          113.10
1921-1930      96.38          115.77
1931-1940      101.11          118.95
1941-1950      95.75          114.38
1951-1960      96.24          116.76
1961-1970      102.36          120.36
1971-1980      90.00          109.17
1981-1990      89.13          109.33
1991-2000      99.86          117.14
2001-2004      93.44          112.78

Political types, i.e. RFK, Jr., most Democrats and most Republicans, like the slick salesperson, depend on you not doing your homework so they can sell you a bill of goods which is exactly what RFK, Jr. is doing.

One commentor on RFK, Jr.'s column quotes Time magazine:
hurricane wind speeds have increased about 50% in the past 50 years.

Professor Emanuel refers to the past 30 years, not 50. Did Time get it wrong or the commentor or is Professor Emanuel giving different stories to different people? I've done all the research I can tolerate right now. BUT, it is clear that the global warming alarmists do not have the solid foundation to stand on that they claim but they don't hesitate to politicize others pain and anguish to their advantage.

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