[ExI] Tipler on hurricanes and IPCC

Christopher Luebcke cluebcke at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 25 04:39:36 UTC 2010

Unsurprisingly for a Pajamas Media article, the author does not provide a link to the claims being challenged, so I'll provide it for you: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-3-3.html

The first thing that you'll note is that it's a FAQ, not, as Tipler claims, an "executive summary". This of course has no bearing on the truth of the matter, but does suggest that one ought to be on the guard for other instances of apparent carelessness.

Much more interesting than the FAQ is the actual chapter in AR4 that addresses changes in extreme weather patterns: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-8-3.html

I am not a scientist and am not qualified to critically assess either the IPCC's interpretation of the source articles, or the strengths or weaknesses of the source articles themselves. I will note that this chapter of AR4 appears to include a fair number of references to source articles, and specifically calls out instances of (and provides references to) dissenting views.

I am similarly unqualified to assess the merits of Ryan Maue's claims, though one should bear in mind that the source being cited here is a blog post, not a peer-reviewed article (or a rebuttal thereof). I would simply point out that the statements "hurricane activity has increased since 1970" and "numbers of hurricanes in the North Atlantic have also been above normal (based on 1981–2000 averages) in 9 of the last 11 years" do not contradict the statement that "hurricane activity has decreased since 2005".

Yet Tipler can't stop there. He has to claim that this is a "fraud in the hurricane data". Tipler does not provide any basis for leveling this extremely serious charge, but simply states it as fact. Per my invective against my new friend Rafal the other day, I am deeply concerned that the inability to agree without trying to generate the maximum anger possible is going to doom many of us to a very dark future.

The last thing I'll mention is that the issue has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the existence or scal of global warming, nor whether such warming (if it exists) is human-caused. It is simply a disagreement over data or the interpretation thereof. Yet some can't resist the opportunity to throw kerosene on the fire.

Somebody, some day, is going to lose a life over this. Or more than one.

From: Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Wed, February 24, 2010 6:42:55 PM
Subject: [ExI] Tipler on hurricanes and IPCC



<This is the essence of the IPCC Assessment Report 4 (WG1 chapter 3) executive summary on hurricanes:

    Intense tropical cyclone activity has increased since about 1970. … Globally, estimates of the potential destructiveness of hurricanes show a significant upward trend since the mid-1970s, with a trend towards longer lifetimes and greater storm intensity. … These relationships have been reinforced by findings of a large increase in numbers and proportion of hurricanes reaching categories 4 and 5 globally. … numbers of hurricanes in the North Atlantic have also been above normal (based on 1981–2000 averages) in 9 of the last 11 years, culminating in the record-breaking 2005 season.

In reality, hurricanes, in both strength and in frequency, have been decreasing over the past four years. Ryan Maue of the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State University, a hurricane researcher, has shown that “global and Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity remains near 30-year historical lows — three years in a row now of considerably below-average activity globally.”>

See graphs etc at site.
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