Global warming and the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes: model results

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 13:37 GMT le 05 avril 2010

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Could global warming increase wind shear over the Atlantic, potentially leading to a decrease in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes? There is a growing consensus among hurricane scientists that this is indeed quite possible. Two recent studies, by Zhao et al. (2009), "Simulations of Global Hurricane Climatology, Interannual Variability, and Response to Global Warming Using a 50-km Resolution GCM", and by Knutson et al. (2008), "Simulated reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first-century warming conditions", found that global warming might increase wind shear over the Atlantic by the end of the century, resulting in a decrease in the number of Atlantic hurricanes. For example, the second study took 18 relatively coarse (>60 km grid size) models used to formulate the 2007 IPCC climate report, and "downscaled" them using a higher-resolution (18 km grid size) model called ZETAC that was able to successfully simulate the frequencies of hurricanes over the past 50 years. When the 18 km ZETAC model was driven using the climate conditions we expect in 2100, as output by the 18 IPCC models, the authors found that a reduction of Atlantic tropical storms by 27% and hurricanes by 18% by the end of the century resulted. An important reason that their model predicted a decrease in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes was due to a predicted increase in wind shear. As I explain in my wind shear tutorial, a large change of wind speed with height over a hurricane creates a shearing force that tends to tear the storm apart. The amount of wind shear is critical in determining whether a hurricane can form or survive.


Figure 1. Top: predicted change by 2100 in wind shear (in meters per second per degree C of warming--multiply by two to get mph) as predicted by summing the predictions of 18 climate models. Bottom: The number of models that predict the effect shown in the top image. The dots show the locations where tropical storms formed between 1981-2005. The box indicates a region of frequent hurricane formation where wind shear is not predicted to change much. Image credit: Geophysical Research Letters, "Increased Tropical Atlantic Wind Shear in Model Projections of Global Warming", by Vecchi and Soden, 2007.

Since the Knutson et al. study using the 18 km resolution ZETAC model was not detailed enough to look at what might happen to major Category 3 and stronger hurricanes, a new study using a higher resolution model was needed. This was done by a team of modelers led by Dr. Morris Bender of NOAA's GFDL laboratory, who published their results in Science in February. The authors used the GFDL hurricane model--the model that has been our best-performing operation hurricane track forecasting model over the past five years--to perform their study. The GFDL hurricane model runs at a resolution of 9 km, which is detailed enough to make accurate simulations of major hurricanes. The researchers did a double downscaling study, where they first took the forecast atmospheric and oceanic conditions at generated by the coarse (>60 km grid) IPCC models, used these data to initialize the finer resolution 18 km ZETAC model, then used the output from the ZETAC model to initialize the high-resolution GFDL hurricane model. The final results of this "double downscaling" study suggest that although the total number of hurricanes is expected to decrease by the end of the century, we should expect an increase of 81% in the number of Category 4 and 5 storms in the Atlantic. This trend should not be clearly detectable until about 60 years from now, given a scenario in which CO2 doubles by 2100. The authors say that their model predicts that there should already have been a 20% increase in the number of Category 4 and 5 storms since the 1940s, given the approximate 0.5°C warming of the tropical Atlantic during that period. This trend is too small to be detectable, given the high natural variability and the difficulty we've had accurately measuring the exact strength of intense hurricanes before the 1980s.The region of the Atlantic expected to see the greatest increase in Category 4 and 5 storms by the year 2100 is over the Bahama Islands (Figure 2), since wind shear is not expected to increase in this region, and sea surface temperatures and atmospheric instability are expected to increase there.

The net effect of a decrease in total number of hurricanes but an increase in the strongest hurricanes should cause an increase in U.S. hurricane damages of about 30% by the end of the century, the authors compute, assuming that hurricane damages behave as they did during the past century. Over the past century, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes made up only 6% of all U.S. landfalls, but accounted for 48% of all U.S. damage (if normalized to account for increases in U.S. population and wealth, Pielke et al., 2008.)


Figure 2. Expected change in Atlantic Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per decade expected by the year 2100, according to the Science paper by Bender et al. (2010).

Commentary
These results seem reasonable, since the models in question have been successfully been able to simulate the behavior of hurricanes over the past 50 years. However, the uncertainties are high and lot more research needs to be done before we can be confident of the results. Not all of the IPCC models predict an increase in wind shear over the tropical Atlantic by 2100, so the increase in Category 4 and 5 hurricanes could be much greater. Also, the GFDL model was observed to under-predict the strength of intense hurricanes in the current climate, so it may not be creating enough Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the future climate of 2100. On the other hand, IPCC models such as the UKMO-HadCM3 predict a very large increase in wind shear, leading to a drastic reduction in all hurricanes in the Atlantic by 2100, including Category 4 and 5 storms. So Category 4 and 5 hurricane frequency could easily be much greater or much less than the 81% increase by 2100 found by Bender et al.

The estimates of a 30% increase in hurricane damages by 2100 may be considerably too low, since this estimate assumes that sea level rise will continue at the same pace as was observed in the 20th century. Sea level rise has accelerated since the 1990s, and it is likely that this century we will see much more than than the 7 inches of global sea level rise that was observed last century. Higher sea level rise rates will sharply increase the damages due to storm surge, which account for a large amount of the damage from intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes.

Keep in mind that while a 30% in hurricane damage by the end of the century is significant, this will not be the main reason hurricane damages will increase this century. Hurricane damages are currently doubling every ten years, according to Pielke et al., 2008. This is primarily due to the increasing population along the coast and increased wealth of the population. The authors theorize that the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, a Category 4 monster that made a direct hit on Miami Beach, would have caused about $150 billion in damage had it hit in 2005. By 2015, the authors expect the same hurricane would do $300 billion in damage. This number would increase to $600 billion by 2025 (though I think it is likely that the recent recession may delay this damage total a few years into the future.) It is essential that we limit coastal development in vulnerable coastal areas, particularly along barrier islands, to reduce some of the astronomical price tags hurricanes are going to be causing. Adoption and enforcement of strict building standards is also a must.

The authors of the GFDL hurricane model study have put together a nice web page with links to the paper and some detailed non-technical explanations of the paper.

References
Bender et al., 2010, "Modeled Impact of Anthropogenic Warming on the Frequency of Intense Atlantic Hurricanes", Science, 22 January 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5964, pp. 454 - 458 DOI: 10.1126/science.1180568.

Vecchi, G.A., B.J. Soden, A.T. Wittenberg, I.M. Held, A. Leetmaa, and M.J. Harrison, 2006, "Weakening of tropical Pacific atmospheric circulation due to anthropogenic forcing", Nature, 441(7089), 73-76.

Vecchi, G.A., and B.J. Soden, 2007, "Increased Tropical Atlantic Wind Shear in Model Projections of Global Warming", Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L08702, doi:10.1029/2006GL028905, 2007.

Jeff Masters

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LAT...LON 3992 8595 3988 8595 3988 8596 3964 8597
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$$
Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Aftershocks from the M7.2 earthquake yesterday continue to spread towards and on the San Andreas fault. I'm thinking towards an area to the east-southeast of Los Angeles.


Its not on the San Andreas yet. It is still working on the transform faults within the rift system south of the San Andreas. Once it shifts to the faults on the north end of Imperial valley... then its the San Andreas.
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cell just west of Indy probably going tornadic
Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Emg Mgt isnt a Job..its a adventure.


Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting StormW:
You really can't base it off central pressure, either. It sometimes takes, from my experience, 2, if not 3 advisories before the wind speed reacts to a drop in pressure.


Storm,

Funny you should mention this. I have been experimenting with a vortex simulator (VERY small scale) and noticed this anomaly. I would see a pressure drop (via instrumentation), but there would be, on average, a five to six second delay in formation. I am no expert in atmospheric dynamics, just some rudimentary knowledge of incompressible aerodynamics. I found it interesting that, after the delay, there would be a rather rapid spin-up (less than one second.) Without boring anyone, is there a body of work I could use to better educate myself? Thanks Storm.

Very Respectfully,

Jon
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Quoting StormW:
I think if the media displays like I did for Ike, the potential surge in graphic, or even in NWS text format, folks should get the message. BTW, they are supposed to be making changes to SLOSH, to display storms like IKE's potential

HURRICANE IKE SYNOPSIS SEP. 12, 2008 ISSUED 10:10 A.M. EDT

Except that if you forecast doom that doesn't transpire, no one listens in the future.

All of the forecasts and most of the hindcasts put surge up to Beaumont, bury Port Arthur and Orange, flood Lake Charles. Yes, parts of Orange had some water, but most of the structures in the Golden Triangle, outside of Bridge City, of course, were spared.

One that does all that is the SLOSH in your link: http://img391.imageshack.us/img391/1640/galvcat3hightidedisplayba6.png

Got Bolivar, Ship Channel and San Jacinto right, overkill in lots of other places.

NOLA was evacuated very much like that for Katrina but in 1998 for Georges. He was almost a Betsy. But levees held, houses were fine, the Superdome was a last-resort shelter (and, thus, looted, of course), but I wonder how many stayed for Katrina after evacuating for Georges only to come back to no doom whatsoever. Then not realizing how close to doom they really were.

Big perception issue with the general public. If you forecast doom, you better be right on, or expect some portion of everyone to have doubts about anything you or anyone else in the business has to say next time doom is the forecast, right or wrong. If wrong, they need to know why, how it will be improved based on what was learned, and how close it really was.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Hopefully they won't have a problem that Atlanta had when a tornado hit the arena in downtown Atlanta 2 years ago. The arena took a beating from a EF 2 tornado in March 2008.


yeah I remember that, Im contemplating driving down to Indy, about a 1 hr 15 min drive, maybe catch up with a storm, but im low on cash and the van im driving is awful on gas
Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
If people would have known what storm surge means it wouldn't have mattered that Ike was a category two on the SSHS. They would have heard the forecasted 20 foot storm surge and would have left.
If we are talking about Ike in particular, I keep thinking that the storm surge forecasts were not that far off, and that they were pretty extensively broadcast. If we are talking Katrina, that is a different story all together.

I think you and some of the others were correct in saying that many pple in the general public don't have a complete understanding of what, say, a "storm surge of 15 feet" really entails. (Hey, even as a "hurricane-savvy" person, I don't KNOW what it's like.) Something I remember from Ike is pple who lived on Bolivar Peninsula getting stuck there because the storm surge started to come in sooner than they expected. Some actually helped others evacuate! Though they were long-time GOM dwellers, their limited understanding of the mechanics of the storm surge limited their ability to make wise decisions.
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Aftershocks from the M7.2 earthquake yesterday continue to spread towards and on the San Andreas fault. I'm thinking towards an area to the east-southeast of Los Angeles.

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I have to go to a Museum Board meeting South Dade Fish.. I'll be back to finish our discussion later sir!

sickum Pat!
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TIME...MOT...LOC 2110Z 253DEG 29KT 3944 8765

$$

SHIMON


did Michael Jackson make that last report?!

;)
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Quoting jeffs713:

The storm west of Indy is a beast.
Quoting Jeff9641:


Looks like a nice hail core is heading toward Downtown Indy and there maybe a funnel on the south side of this storm. Downtown area should expect hail soon.


great night to have the national championship in town, huh?
Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:
these are some huge storms!

link

The storm west of Indy is a beast.
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Quoting Snowlover123:
Ummm... Jeff... If Global Warming causes more hurricanes, how come Global ACE is at record lows? http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/global_running_ace.jpg
This article is unrealiable because it's about the Global Climate fallacy models.







How bout one read the entry?

Sheesh,..LOL

Global warming and the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes: model results

Posted by: JeffMasters, 8:37 AM CDT on April 05, 2010
Could global warming increase wind shear over the Atlantic, potentially leading to a decrease in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes? There is a growing consensus among hurricane scientists that this is indeed quite possible. Two recent studies, by Zhao et al. (2009), "Simulations of Global Hurricane Climatology, Interannual Variability, and Response to Global Warming Using a 50-km Resolution GCM", and by Knutson et al. (2008), "Simulated reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first-century warming conditions", found that global warming might increase wind shear over the Atlantic by the end of the century, resulting in a decrease in the number of Atlantic hurricanes. For example, the second study took 18 relatively coarse (>60 km grid size) models used to formulate the 2007 IPCC climate report, and "downscaled" them using a higher-resolution (18 km grid size) model called ZETAC that was able to successfully simulate the frequencies of hurricanes over the past 50 years. When the 18 km ZETAC model was driven using the climate conditions we expect in 2100, as output by the 18 IPCC models, the authors found that a reduction of Atlantic tropical storms by 27% and hurricanes by 18% by the end of the century resulted. An important reason that their model predicted a decrease in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes was due to a predicted increase in wind shear. As I explain in my wind shear tutorial, a large change of wind speed with height over a hurricane creates a shearing force that tends to tear the storm apart. The amount of wind shear is critical in determining whether a hurricane can form or survive.



Even back in Spring 2008, Dr. Masters states that there is no evidence of Stronger Canes in the Atlantic due to Climate Change,or AGW.





Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


What bothers me is that when scientists see that what they predicted isnt panning out, they jump on a bandwagon that seems to fit their prediction. In 2004,5, and 6 all we heard from them is that the number of hurricanes will increase because of global warming. Now for the past 3 years there has been a dramatic decline and the public is getting weary of Global Warming so they do a total 180 and say that of course the shear we forgot about the shear thats total horse hockey. Same is true for for the ice shelfs every time the ice gets a near minimum you see a blog about it,it just went above the 2001 average for the first time? do you see a blog about it??? No because that would not fit his theory and therefore wont post anything about it. I'm all for scientific research just post both sides of the argument. Show that you are at least a little unbiased.
Waidaminit. Isn't the whole POINT of science to devise new hypotheses, then prove or disprove them? The problem, IMO, is not with the scientists per se, but with news media, politicos, etc treating scientific data like gospel - i.e. expecting pple to "live and die" by whatever scientific concept they first promulgated. Scientific study by its very nature is ever changing; hypotheses that can be proven are added to the body of knowledge, while those which can't are cast aside, or at best reinterpreted in the light of new findings.

Unfortunately, too many pple, both supporters and opponents, treat scientific discovery like religion, e.g. "science proves God doesn't exist", or "I believe in God, so science must be wrong". If pple would be willing to "suspend belief (or disbelief)" we could get on with the science of things. IMO, science=mind/thought, while God=soul/spirit/emotions.

Bottom line is, I don't EXPECT scientists to be toeing the same line in 2010 as they were in 2005. [Hopefully] We've learned a lot since then.
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these are some huge storms!

link
Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Tornado Warning

TORNADO WARNING
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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LINCOLN IL
409 PM CDT MON APR 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LINCOLN HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN CLARK COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS...
SOUTHEASTERN EDGAR COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS...

* UNTIL 445 PM CDT

* AT 407 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR MARSHALL...AND MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
DENNISON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 3932 8773 3949 8781 3956 8753 3955 8753
3936 8754
TIME...MOT...LOC 2110Z 253DEG 29KT 3944 8765

$$

SHIMON







Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Ummm... Jeff... If Global Warming causes more hurricanes, how come Global ACE is at record lows? http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/global_running_ace.jpg
This article is unrealiable because it's about the Global Climate fallacy models.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Tornadodude is about to get rocked with severe storms. These could have big hail with them.


figures that the biggest storm is between Purdue and my house, about 1 1/2 hours south of me :/
Member Since: 28 juin 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting SouthDadeFish:


So what would your three categories be? And how would they be classified?


wind, storm surge, and precipitation. The "hows" would be better left to those more qualified because of the variables involved, but it need not be as specific as what end of the cul de sac you live at.
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Quoting skepticall2:


Just looked it up and it was the biggest. Maybe he meant to say it could of stayed the biggest city in Texas.



when i said it i couldnt remember whether it was the biggest or was second biggest so i just said it like that :) and i am a she :) i just remember in that book Isaac's storm, how thriving galveston was before the hurricane. and st joe in fla was the "constitution city", the largest city, and it wiped out. my momma lord bless her always said st joe was habitated by people who didnt live right, since it was wiped oyut once by fire, once by yellow fever and once by hurricane. so i guess you could say she had a sorta oral roberts/pat buchanan take on things. The tidal wave was no doubt hurricane storm surge since st joe bay is a very narrow waterbody with a relatively small neck for water to enter and not get out maybe?
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Quoting TampaTom:


Yeah, as a public ed person, it would suddenly become a nightmare to educate the public about:

Hurricane Charley, a category 4-F-7-D storm

(one for wind speed, one for storm surge level, one for rainfall potential and one for tornado potential...)

To the average layperson, that is confusing and too complex.

(Heck, give me 4 storm values, I'm going to get them confused too)
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Quoting SQUAWK:


I don't understand why they need a rating system to begin with. Most people don't understand what it means anyway. Why not just say is will be a 130 MPH hurricane with a 15 foot storm surge that will travel 3 miles inland. Then the idiots might understand what they are dealing with. If you have to have categories I would go with something like:

Ho Hum
Hide the lawn furniture
Hide the kids
Get outta Dodge
Kiss your butt good bye

Some may understand that.
This could work:

HH
HLF
HK
GOD
KYBGB

"Hurricane Elf is approaching the coastal US, and with sustained winds estimated at more than 160 mph, it's a KYBGB class storm."

Yeah, I can hear it now...
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Yup Storm I think you're absolutely correct. And TampaTom, that's exactly my point. You reach a point of diminishing returns.
Member Since: 12 août 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Watch out Illinois and Indiana, Severe Thunderstorms on the prowl:
Member Since: 25 août 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting SouthDadeFish:


More numbers just confuses people. And how will they get used to these numbers? Say you have a category for rainfall and it's an 8 on a scale of one to ten what does that mean? The NHC already has a scale for rainfall: It's called inches. I think these are interesting ideas, they just wouldn't work. People are used to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. You can't have like eight different ratings for each category.


Yeah, as a public ed person, it would suddenly become a nightmare to educate the public about:

Hurricane Charley, a category 4-F-7-D storm

(one for wind speed, one for storm surge level, one for rainfall potential and one for tornado potential...)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale was created to describe wind damage, which is did a good job of. Now building codes are improving so the damage explanation could be slightly adjusted. The storm surge values were added to each category after the scale was made. Which is why the NHC now made sure the SSHS is known as strictly a wind scale.
Member Since: 12 août 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Quoting indianrivguy:


I disagree.. offering nothing but the same old inadequate warning system kills people. They are confused enough to not take proper actions. There has to be a better way to categorize storms. I'm not up for 8 grades, but three would be just fine imo.

Had Ike come in 25 miles further south, thousands might have died on Galveston Island because the Mayor was too stupid to get past a perceived "only a Category 2" threat.


So what would your three categories be? And how would they be classified?
Member Since: 12 août 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Quoting SouthDadeFish:


More numbers just confuses people. And how will they get used to these numbers? Say you have a category for rainfall and it's an 8 on a scale of one to ten what does that mean? The NHC already has a scale for rainfall: It's called inches. I think these are interesting ideas, they just wouldn't work. People are used to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. You can't have like eight different ratings for each category.


I disagree.. offering nothing but the same old inadequate warning system kills people. They are confused enough to not take proper actions. There has to be a better way to categorize storms. I'm not up for 8 grades, but three would be just fine imo.

Had Ike come in 25 miles further south, thousands might have died on Galveston Island because the Mayor was too stupid to get past a perceived "only a Category 2" threat.
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Quoting skepticall2:


You'd think there would be one out there somewhere I can't find it either.

Rice University has one.
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If people would have known what storm surge means it wouldn't have mattered that Ike was a category two on the SSHS. They would have heard the forecasted 20 foot storm surge and would have left.
Member Since: 12 août 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Quoting skepticall2:


Well then I'm glad the scale only bases the storm off of a little sustained winds.


And it does a relatively good job of informing the public. The problem is not the scale, the problem is public knowledge of how hurricanes do damage.
Member Since: 12 août 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Joining the fray here....Or you could have a "mere" tropical storm, like Faye, flooding the entire State of Florida under the right conditions....My personal point is, with the exception of the stronger Cat 2 and above Canes which pretty much wreck havoc, that I would rather have a fast moving Cat 1 anyday over a slow moving "soaker" tropical storm that saturates the ground and can make trees fall down in a 50 MPH gust......Every storm is different and the effects relative to the storm and geography/angle of approach to the coast/coastal topography, etc.....
Good point. Those slow moving tropical storms are devastating. Like the two Allisons that hit Texas(89 and 01), and the floods in Fl and GA during the 1994 season from Alberto & Beryl.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I think what annoys me most about the tone of this post and others like it is that it completely dismisses any scientific validity whatsoever to the work done by the researchers. Never mind that they did follow scientific method and employ respected wx modelling tools like the GFDL. Something was in there about GW, so let's trash the whole thing.

I'm reminded of old-time attitudes towards alchemists, who reputedly were trying to turn lead to gold. Sure there were scoffers. It even turns out the scoffers were right. However, in the process, those old-time alchemists set our collective feet on the path of increased knowledge and understanding of the world around us and the properties of rocks and minerals which are more valuable than gold today.

Maybe what we should be learning from these studies has little or noting to do with global warming.


What bothers me is that when scientists see that what they predicted isnt panning out, they jump on a bandwagon that seems to fit their prediction. In 2004,5, and 6 all we heard from them is that the number of hurricanes will increase because of global warming. Now for the past 3 years there has been a dramatic decline and the public is getting weary of Global Warming so they do a total 180 and say that of course the shear we forgot about the shear thats total horse hockey. Same is true for for the ice shelfs every time the ice gets a near minimum you see a blog about it,it just went above the 2001 average for the first time? do you see a blog about it??? No because that would not fit his theory and therefore wont post anything about it. I'm all for scientific research just post both sides of the argument. Show that you are at least a little unbiased.
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Quoting skepticall2:


That doesn't get the point out though. Most people don't go to the NHC site for advisories.


More numbers just confuses people. And how will they get used to these numbers? Say you have a category for rainfall and it's an 8 on a scale of one to ten what does that mean? The NHC already has a scale for rainfall: It's called inches. I think these are interesting ideas, they just wouldn't work. People are used to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. You can't have like eight different ratings for each category.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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