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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hurricanes and Global Warming

It looks like environmentalists (and European newspapers) have one less thing to complain about. According to the National Hurricane Center (repeated by this article), there are some facts concerning the storm trends in the past few years:

...During the forty year period 1961 2000 both the number and intensity of
landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply! Based on 1901 1960 statistics, the expected number of hurricanes and major hurricanes during the period 1961 2000 was 75 and 28, respectively. But, in fact, only 55 (or 74%) of the expected number of hurricanes struck the U.S. with only 20 major hurricanes or 71% of that expected number. Even the very active late 1990s showed below average landfall frequencies. It could be noted that of the most recent four decades, only the 70's and 80's were significantly below normal in terms of overall tropical cyclone activity.
Furthermore, from 1851-1900, there were 27 major hurricanes (category 4 or higher) in the US. This increased to 34 from 1901-1950, then decreased to 28 from 1951-2000.

Also consider this:
The only times that the U.S. mainland has gone as long as two years without a hurricanes are 1862-64, 1930-31, 1981-82 and 2000-01. Note there is considerable uncertainty before 1900 because significant areas of the Gulf and Southeast coasts were unpopulated and uninstrumented. The largest number of hurricanes to strike in one year was seven (1886), with six occurring in 1916,
1985, and 2004, plus five in 1893, 1909 and 1933. Three or four hurricanes have struck the U.S. in one year a total of 37 times. Eleven U.S. hurricanes were recorded in the two-year period 1886-87 with 15 recorded from 1886-1888
So if global warming is the cause for these storms, why have they been just as, if not more prevalent at a time when there was less greenhouse gasses being released into the air?

Looking at the statistics, it seems that the recent intense Hurricane activity is not caused by soccer moms in SUV's. However, the recent news cycles may be a by-product of more accessable communications, coupled with the fact that in the past twenty-five years, more people have begun to live in coastal areas. Not to mention the propensity for news events to be politicized these days.