Tropical storm Ida has finally given the doom groomers cause for cheering. A prominent Washington newspaper wrote that climate change helped make Ida “one of Louisiana’s worst.” Sounds alarming, but is it true?
Trust the Science
An atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Emanuel Kerry, told the paper that “this is exactly the kind of thing we have to get used to as the planet warms.” However, other experts don’t agree. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there has been no trend in North Atlantic hurricanes since 1878 and no increase in landfall frequency in the United States.
The experts do, however, note that hurricanes go through multi-decadal cycles. For instance, you must go back to between 1930 and 1960 to find the same high number of North Atlantic hurricanes as today. The scientists have an explanation for this pattern. It is called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). NOAA describes it thus:
“The AMO is an ongoing series of long-duration changes in the sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean, with cool and warm phases that may last for 20-40 years at a time and a difference of about 1°F between extremes. These changes are natural and have been occurring for at least the last 1,000 years.”
It also states that the AMO “is associated with changes in the frequency of North American droughts and is reflected in the frequency of severe Atlantic hurricanes.” When we are in a warm phase, which we have been in “[s]ince the mid-1990s,” hurricanes are more energetic.
The persistent lack of any trend in the last 140 years makes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declare that it has “low confidence” in long-term trends of tropical cyclones. Thus, when Kerry claims that Ida is a taste of what we will have more of in the future, he goes against the entire scientific community. It makes for juicy headlines, but the claim is not true.
In the early days of environmental catastrophism, the term “global warming” was used. However, when the planet refused to warm as rapidly as the models predicted, global warming was renamed “climate change.” This far more nebulous term is sufficiently flexible that scary headlines can be manufactured to fit the season. Right now, the AMO is at its peak, and therefore we see many hurricanes. In a few years, the AMO will fall, and the climate media industrial complex must move its focus elsewhere.
In the meantime, good news that does not support the narrative goes unreported. For instance, a recent study of 221 islands in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean shows that nearly all remained stable or grew, countering the notion that tropical islands are being swallowed by the ocean due to rising sea levels produced by climate change. In total, they gained 62 km2, and the Maldives alone grew by 37.5 km2 in the last two decades. That should be cause for celebration, but most people will never hear about this report. Instead, they will be fed baseless speculations of future doom.