When a controversial climatologist claims Hurricane Harvey’s brutal downpour that devastated Houston is a result of global warming, it warrants examining the claim. We have, and it appears baseless. But that won’t stop climate-change extremists from making that claim again in the future.
First, a little background.
Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann has gained dubious renown for something no scientist desires: fiddling with data, and getting caught. In this case, it was temperature data. Mann’s famous “hockey stick” rendition of temperature and climate changes makes it appear as if temperatures began rising sharply in the 19th century as carbon dioxide from the Industrial Revolution began to build up, and then soared uncontrollably in recent years to near-record highs for the last millennium.
Mann used proxy data for much of his chart, which, because of its distinctive shape, was soon called the hockey stick. It became the symbol of “science” proving that global warming was now disastrously heating our planet. And it was the centerpiece of the United Nations’ efforts to propagandize on behalf of making the developed world poorer to temper the effects of global warming. The U.N.’s proposals would require a massive decline in the West’s standard of living and hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes.
The only problem is, according to critics, Mann’s data were manipulated in such a way as to make them incorrect. Ironically, Mann published his hockey-stick paper in 1998, after which satellite temperature data — the most complete and accurate weather data we have — show virtually no statistically significant change in global temperatures.
Worse still, Canadian statisticians Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick discovered that Mann’s statistical manipulations of the raw data were mathematically questionable at best and dishonest at worst. When the two force-fed Mann’s own statistical formulas with random data, they generated … a hockey stick. So, in essence, the climate books were cooked to make global warming seem extreme, no matter what data were used.
“Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster child of the global-warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics,” science writer Richard Muller noted in the 2004 issue of the MIT Review, on the controversy. “How could it happen?”
It could happen because the giant global-warming industry — made up of government bureaucrats, professors, scientists, researchers and think-tank fellows, and allied as it is to the U.N.’s socialist agenda — depends on government grants and aid to “prove” global warming is a threat. This year, according to a Daily Caller Foundation estimate, the U.S. federal government alone will spend some $27 billion on climate change, much of it on research.
Any scientist whose work doesn’t slavishly follow the strict theology of the climate-change religion has little chance of getting his or her research funded by the U.S. government, whose bureaucracy has every reason to want to see global warming as a threat.
And now, Mann is at it again.
Writing in the leftist British newspaper The Guardian, under the alarming headline “It’s a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly,” Mann had this to say: “Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage, and a larger storm surge.”
Interesting observation, but not a “fact” at all, as he suggests, but rather a hotly disputed opinion. Moreover, it’s cherry-picking of the worst sort: Wait for a disaster to happen, and then say, in effect, “Global warming. I told you so.”
“This is an example of what will be a relentless tirade of statements. Say nothing, make no forecast you can actually be held accountable for, then come out after and grab headlines with stuff like this,” wrote Joe Bastardi, the chief forecaster of Weather Bell Analytics, a weather consultancy and forecasting firm.
Yet, ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2004, climate-change advocates have warned that hurricanes and storms would be far worse as a result of global warming. It was inevitable, we were told.
But the fact is, since 2010, the number of severe, category 4 hurricanes have declined sharply. Moreover, those who follow hurricanes and tropical storms for a living suggest global warming isn’t the cause.
CNN Newsroom host John Berman asked former National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read point-blank whether climate change had affected the intensity of Hurricane Harvey.
Read said he “probably wouldn’t attribute (global warming to) what we’re looking at here. This is not an uncommon occurrence to see storms grow and intensify rapidly in the western Gulf of Mexico. That is, as long as we’ve been tracking them, that has occurred.”
In short, it’s part of a long-term weather pattern — not climate change. And a look at the number of hurricanes by decade shows conclusively that the number and severity of hurricanes have mostly declined in recent decades, not risen.
“There is no reason to be debating Harvey and climate change in the context of an unfolding disaster, other than political opportunism and attention-seeking,” said climate scientist and University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke. “It’s not a good look for scientists or journalists who are promoting this issue.”
Pielke destroys the notion that global warming has made hurricanes or tropical storms worse by noting that from 1926 to 1969, a period of 44 years, there were 14 category 4 hurricanes that made landfall. From 1970 to 2017, or 47 years, there have been just four. If anything, if you were a global warming advocate and being honest, you’d have to say that higher temperatures have caused the number of severe hurricanes hitting the U.S. to decline by 70%.
All of the news shows, newspapers, news websites and magazines will be peddling the same shamanistic nonsense: Global warming is to blame for everything nasty in the natural world, but especially for the brutal hurricanes that occasionally rip into our coast. But the facts show it just ain’t true.
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