Hurricane Prediction Time, Remembering Katrina

Last week the experts in Colorado predicted a relatively mild  2012 Atlantic hurricane season .  Years ago I was interested in the predictions because I had a relative that lived in Fort Myers; now I give some credit for my interest to Al Gore.

Yup.  Al Gore.  It all started in 2006 when I saw his film An Inconvenient Truth.  I actually found his film conveniently untruthful in many ways.  The film converted me from a mild global warming believer into a confirmed skeptic.

In the film, Mr. Gore blamed the Katrina event, and tropical cyclones all over the world on man caused global warming.  His argument was based on the notion that the oceans are warmer so hurricanes are much worse since they form over oceans.

Unfortunately for Mr. Gore, his favorite UN agency, the IPCC disagrees.  They state in their 2007 Synopses Report that most of the recent warming has occurred over land in northern climates.  They also say there is no clear evidence that hurricanes have been impacted by anthropogenic global warming.  The do say it might happen in the future.

Hurricanes are tropical systems, they need warm water.  The tropics have not  warmed significantly in the last 50 years.  The warming of the oceans has been primarily in the the North Pacific, the North Atlantic and the Arctic.  Hurricanes don’t form there.

Maybe I should cut Mr. Gore some slack, his film was released in 2006, and the IPCC Synopses Report was not released until 2007…but naaaa, Al should have known better.   I am never a fan of mixing politics and science…and Hurricane Katrina got the Al Gore science/political misinformation treatment in spades.

Many people are particularly upset by Mr. Gore’s politicizing of science with his extensive use of the Katrina event.  FEMA did a poor job, as did the mayor of New Orleans and the governor.  The Corps of Engineers and the civilian boards in New Orleans also made many judgment errors.

It was a case of many people not preparing for an event that everyone knew would come some day, an event that was not particularly extraordinary in a weather sense. Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane when it hit New Orleans.  It really is a story of failed human behavior. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves if it is wise to live below sea level adjacent to very warm water in hurricane country.

I know a good or a bad hurricane season doesn’t prove anything about global warming.  It is but a single data point ….and we need lots of data over a long period of time to really understand….but every year we don’t have a bad hurricane season,  Mr. Gore looks silly…and I like that.

PS.   We have had 6 relatively mild Atlantic Hurricane seasons in a row since Mr. Gore released his film.

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One response to “Hurricane Prediction Time, Remembering Katrina

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