While this won’t be of much comfort for those that are squarely in its path right now, it is a small bit of good news. Dr. Philip Klotzbach has compiled rankings of both Hurricane Irma and Harvey when they made landfall. Compared to the 1935 Labor Day storm, Irma is a distant 7th, tied with the 1928 Lake Okeechobee storm. –Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, 10 September 2017
Given that hurricanes were hitting Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean long before the industrial revolution, let alone the 20th century, it would be absurd to suggest that they could somehow be prevented by any climate-change policy. It would be no more absurd to try to promote calm weather through climate policies. Adapting to cope with possible future storms will be necessary whether they become more intense or not. Nigel Lawson pointed out 11 years ago in his book An Appeal to Reason that adaptation policies had benefits over carbon-reduction policies: they work unilaterally; can be applied locally; produce results quickly; can capture any benefits of warming while reducing risks; address existing problems that are exacerbated by warming, and bring benefits even if global warming proves to have been exaggerated. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 11 September 2017
Five deaths related to Hurricane Irma have now been confirmed in Florida. Two of the victims died in a car crash southeast of Tampa on Sunday. Any loss of life is a tragedy, and the death toll is certain to go up, but it’s remarkable the extent to which the human cost of a storm as destructive and powerful as this one — which will cause untold billions in property damage — can be mitigated. –James Hohmann, The Washington Post, 11 September 2017
In a 2007 study published in Natural Hazards Review, scientists demonstrated that improved storm forecasting prevented up to 90 percent of deaths that would have occurred should satellite-less, error-prone technology still have been used to predict hurricanes. The researchers found that between 1970 and 2004, an average of around 20 people died from hurricanes each year. But if forecasts were as faulty as they were in the 1950s, they estimated that 200 people would have died each year, simply because significantly more people had settled into the path of destructive cyclones. ‘The bottom line is that the number of deaths has been going down, but the coastal population has been going up,’ says Hugh Willoughby, the study’s lead author and a hurricane researcher at Florida International University.” –James Hohmann, The Washington Post, 11 September 2017
New research predicts that North Atlantic hurricane activity will reduce over the next decade and a half, due to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and changes in North Atlantic sea surface temperature. The open ocean is expected to experience the largest decrease, with approximately four fewer tropical cyclones per decade. —Environmental Research Web, 7 September 2017
The science publication Nature Climate Change this year published a study demonstrating Earth this century warmed substantially less than computer-generated climate models predict. Unfortunately for public knowledge, such findings don’t appear in the news. Sea levels, too, have not been obeying the ‘grand transnational narrative’ of catastrophic global warming. Sea levels around Australia 2011–2012 were measured with the most significant drops in sea levels since measurements began. —Asia Pacific Media Educator, June 2017
The most important lesson for the energy sector emerging from Hurricane Harvey is that the key issue of energy security is no longer physical shortages of fuel supplies but the quality of the infrastructure system that takes energy to the final consumer. —Financial Times, 11 September 2017
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