IPCC “science” on hurricanes no longer settled, either

posted at 8:48 am on March 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, anthropogenic global warming (AGW) activists insisted that the stronger storm systems resulted from the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, making hurricanes increasingly more severe.  These claims made their way into the UN’s IPCC report and have been a staple of AGW arguments for immediate and drastic action to limit energy production as part of the “settled science” attempt to shut down debate.  Unfortunately for the hysterics, new peer-reviewed research published in Nature Geoscience concludes that hurricane strength has little to do with global warming:

Research by hurricane scientists may force the UN’s climate panel to reconsider its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms. …

However, the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, paints a very different picture.

It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.

In other words, the weather changes from year to year.  That’s not to say that global warming of any kind — man-made or natural — won’t have some impact on storm activity.  In fact, it will decrease tropical storms by a third (emphases mine):

Looking to the future, it also draws on computer modelling to predict that the most likely impact of global warming will be to decrease the frequency of tropical storms, by up to 34% by 2100.

What can we conclude from this?  Climatology is a very inexact and developing science.  Even the researchers agree on that much:

“We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said Chris Landsea, a lead scientist at the American government’s National Hurricane Center, who co-authored the report.

He added: ”There are a lot of legitimate concerns about climate change but, in my opinion, hurricanes are not among them. We are looking at a decrease in frequency and a small increase in severity.” Landsea said he regarded the use of hurricane icons on the cover of Gore’s book as “misleading”.

Landsea is not an AGW skeptic, but left his IPCC post in 2005 over the politicization of the scientific process at the UN body.  At the very least, the scientific research showing that hurricane strength cycles have nothing to do with AGW or carbon emissions is yet another reason to dismiss the highly-politicized 2007 report and the blatherings of politicians using it to seize control of the private energy sector.  About the only reliable information left in the IPCC report is the page numbers.

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