After Hurricane Ian: No Trend in Florida Landfalls, Global Activity Trending Down

From Dr. Roy Spencer’s Global Warming Blog

September 29th, 2022 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Hurricane Ian approaches SW Florida on 28 September 2022.

With Hurricane Ian (now a tropical storm) exiting the east coast of Florida, there is no shortage of news reports tying this storm to climate change. Even if those claims actually include data to support their case, those data are usually for cherry-picked regions and time periods. If global warming is causing a change in tropical cyclone activity, it should show up in global statistics.

The latest peer-reviewed study (March 2022, here) of the accumulated wind energy in tropical cyclones since 1990 (when we started have sufficient global data) showed a decrease in hurricane activity. There was an increase in Atlantic activity, but this was matched by an even larger decrease in Pacific activity, due to a shift from El Nino to La Nina conditions during that time.

So, yes, there is climate change involved in the uptick in Atlantic activity in recent decades. But it’s natural.

Looking at just the numbers of global hurricanes since 1980, we see no obvious trends.

Global hurricane activity counts by year during 1980-2021.

Even if we did see an increase, the improvements in global satellite monitoring would be responsible for some of that. It is impossible to talk about meaningful global statistics (especially trends) before the 1980s due to a lack of satellite data. Ships of opportunity are insufficient for trend calculations, especially since ships try to avoid storms, not sample them.

A document-based study of hurricanes impacting the Lesser Antilles since the last 1600s found a downward trend (not statistically significant) in hurricane activity during 1690-2007.

In my 2017 Kindle book Inevitable Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed on Global Warming, I looked at major hurricane landfalls in Florida, which showed no trends. With Hurricane Ian and Michael (2018) added to the dataset, there is still no statistically significant trends in either intensity or frequency of landfalling major hurricanes in Florida.

Major hurricane landfalls in Florida over the last 120 years.

Of course hurricane damages have increased dramatically during the same period, but this is due to the explosive growth in coastal infrastructure there. Miami had only 444 residents in 1896, and now the metro area has over 6,000,000 population. As seen in the following plot, Florida population has increased by a factor of over 40 since 1900.

Yearly population of Florida, 1900 through 2021.

Given that hurricanes will always be with us, what is the best defense against them? Wealth. Hurricane Ian came ashore with 150 mph sustained winds, but warnings from modern instrumentation and forecast tools led to mass evacuations. At this writing, only 5 deaths have been reported (I’m sure that will rise). Modern building codes help reduce wind damage. I watched storm chaser Reed Timmer live reporting from the eyewall of Hurricane Ian as it made landfall, and I didn’t see any roofs coming off the houses (but I’m sure there were some that did). Damage from storm surge flooding, however, will be extensive and costly.

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September 29, 2022 at 01:52PM

Live at Noon CT: Is the Climate Cult Crumbling? – In The Tank, ep365

The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute’s Donald Kendal, Jim Lakely, and Chris Talgo present episode 365 of the In The Tank Podcast. Stories have popped up recently that might point to the climate cult falling apart. From Al Gore calling out corporations for “greenwashing” to Rashida Tlaib lashing out at bankers for not cutting off fossil fuel financing, it seems like the “greenies” are turning on each other. Also, YouTube denied Heartland’s attempt at monetizing our channel, claiming our content is “harmful.”

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September 29, 2022 at 01:52PM

It’s a Bloomin’ Disgrace

Many of you may recall that I recently reported here concerning a major ecological disaster that had befallen the North East of England, in which mass die-offs of crustaceans had been swept up onto the beaches between Teesside and Whitby. The devastation has virtually destroyed crab and lobster fishing within the area and there is no sign of a let up. DEFRA investigated the deaths and astonishingly declared that a natural algal bloom was the most likely cause. Local fishermen dismissed the findings as rubbish, pointing the finger instead at a chemical called pyridine, which may have been re-released into the water column following dredging related to the Tees Port development. DEFRA has stuck to its guns and refuses to re-open the enquiry. Consequently, the local fisherman crowd-funded an independent study to be performed by a consortium of local universities. This is what has been announced today:

“Crab deaths may have been caused by poisoning by industrial toxins and not algal bloom.

Fresh research has suggested that the mass crab deaths seen on Teesside shores are “more consistent with poisoning by industrial toxins”.

Commissioned by the North East Fishing Collective, the investigation saw academics come together to determine whether pyridine is toxic to edible crabs following the mass crustacean die-offs seen across Teesside over the last year. Durham University, one of the academic institutions taking part in the study, found that satellite imagery “does show a marine algal bloom off Teesside at around the time of the Oct 2021 mass mortality event.” However, it said that not all blooms are harmful and that this one was “not unusually large,” with several larger blooms in 2021 and 2022 occurring without causing the mass die-offs.

The research described how harmful algal blooms “usually kill a broad range of organisms” but that the Teesside events disproportionately affected crabs and lobsters, which showed “an unusual twitching behaviour.” It found that pyridine “can induce exactly the same twitching behaviour as seen in affected Teesside crabs.”

The report’s conclusions outlined that “pyridine in seawater is highly toxic to crabs even at low levels, showing indications of attacking the nervous system as evidenced by the twitching and convulsing behaviours.” It described the death as “rapid” at the upper tested concentration, with lower concentrations causing “partial paralysis.”

Other findings noted that pyridine was found “in both near-shore and offshore sediments,” and that Teesside industrial plant Vertellus is known to have handled large amounts of the chemical before 2019. Computer simulations also predicted elevated quantities of pyridine could be transported to as far as Whitby, using current and tide data.

Conservationist Sally Bunce said she was “absolutely ecstatic” about the findings, explaining: “For the last six or seven months I’ve been accused of being a conspiracy theorist, talking utter rubbish, by various people. This proves that actually, not only are we not conspiracy theorists, but we have gone above and beyond to prove scientifically what the cause was.

“The fishermen have had to crowdfund £30k to fund this themselves. It’s like Christmas for me. Let’s hope now that we get this independent review done and we get a halt on the dredging and we test the whole of the area.

“Now we know that it is a killer of marine life, we can’t go chucking stuff out at sea anymore. We’ve got to look at other ways. The data clearly shows that the toxic plume could spread down as far as Whitby. We could wipe out the tourist industry way below Bridlington if we’re not careful.”

Alongside the North East Fishing Collective, other organisations involved in the study included The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust, Whitby Lobster Hatchery, and multiple academic institutions such as Newcastle University, the University of Hull, the University of York, and Durham University.

I don’t think this can be dismissed as a simple case of incompetence on the part of DEFRA. What we have seen here is a wilful, government sponsored, attempt to cover up a major pollution event. It has been politicised science at its very worst. What more do we deniers and conspiracy theorist have to do to convince the public that the idea of governments following the science is so often a monstrous deception.

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September 29, 2022 at 01:20PM

Hurricane Ian

By Paul Homewood

 

 

image

A life-threatening hurricane has made landfall on Florida’s south-western coast, bringing heavy rain, high winds and catastrophic storm surges.

Hurricane Ian has sustained wind speeds up to 250km/h (155mph), just shy of the threshold for category five storms – the strongest classification.

Millions of Floridians with homes in Ian’s path are under evacuation orders.

Those who remained are facing one of the most dangerous storms to hit the US in decades.

More than one million Florida residents have lost power, after Ian knocked out power in all of Cuba.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-63052558

According to the National Hurricane Center, Ian made landfall near Fort Myers with sustained winds of 150 mph and central pressure of 940 MB:

 

 

image

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2022/al09/al092022.update.09281909.shtml?

There is no doubt that it was a particularly catastrophic storm, but were wind speeds really 150 mph?

The first clue is that central pressure of 940 MB at landfall. The lowest pressure prior to landfall was 937 MB. As the chart below shows, it is unheard of for US landfall hurricanes of 940 MB to produce 150 mph (130 Kts)  winds:

image

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/All_U.S._Hurricanes.html

Typically 940 MB storms have wind speeds of about 115 Kts.

The Galveston hurricane of 1915 had the same 940 MB pressure, but winds were estimated at 115 Kts. Hazel in 1954 was also 940 MB and had winds of 115 Kts too.

Two of of the most intense hurricanes to hit the US had much lower pressure than Ian, but were estimated at the time to have no stronger winds than Ian this week – Indianola in 1886 was measured at 925 MB, with estimated wind speeds of 130 Kts, the same as Ian, while the Great Miami hurricane in 1926 was 929 MB with wind speeds of 125 Kts.

Curiously the only other hurricane to buck this is Laura in 2020, with a central pressure of 939 MB and 130 Kt winds. Other than Laura, 130 Kt and over winds have not appeared in any storm with more than 934 MB pressure.

[I should point here that all of the numbers for central pressure and wind speed are at the time of landfall.]

It is significant that until the 1940s, wind speeds were always estimated from the central pressure, as there was no other way of measuring them, until satellites and hurricane hunter aircraft came along.

 

To be blunt, 130 Kt wind speeds are not consistent with 940 MB pressure.

And this is not the only evidence of inconsistency. Estimates of wind speeds from satellite data are largely based on the Digital Dvorak system, which measures temperatures within the cyclone.

According to the satellites, Ian only peaked at around 120 Kts at landfall. Indeed it briefly peaked higher on the 27th, when winds were estimated at 110 Kts. The red line represents the actual measurements, while the green line is the published number, in this case peaking at 135 Kts just prior to landfall:

image

http://rammb-data.cira.colostate.edu/tc_realtime/storm.asp?storm_identifier=al092022

In terms of central pressure, Ian is the 22nd most intense landfalling hurricane since 1851, suggesting it was in now way unusual:

image

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/All_U.S._Hurricanes.html 

 

Finally, Ian was the first major hurricane to hit the US this year, indeed the first hurricane to do so. The historical data shows clearly that there are no adverse trends in US hurricanes:

image

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/All_U.S._Hurricanes.html

All hurricanes can be devastating.

But it is hard to avoid the conclusion, first with Laura and now with Ian, that wind speeds nowadays are being overestimated by at least 10 Kts.

Or to put it another way – if Ian really was a 130 Kt hurricane, many other hurricanes in the past have been grossly underestimated.

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September 29, 2022 at 12:17PM