Why Do The EPA Mislead Kids?
By Paul Homewood
In their “Student’s Guide To Global Climate Change”, the EPA have a section entitled “Wilder Weather”, which states “Over the past 20 years, hurricanes and other tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean have become stronger”. The implication is clear that this is due to global warming. They back up this statement with the Power Dissipation Graph shown below.
All seems very straight forward, but what have they forgotten to tell the kids? Well, for a start they could have mentioned perhaps the most important fact – as their own Climate Change Indicators booklet states
Over time, data collection methods have changed as technology has improved. For example, wind speed collection methods have evolved substantially over the past 60 years. How these changes in data gathering technologies might affect data consistency over the life of the indicator is not fully understood.
Put bluntly there is a historical problem with hurricane measurement due to the fact that in the early 1900s, only hurricanes striking land or observed from surviving boats were seen and named. Starting in the mid-20th century, major hurricanes spotted from planes were counted and named. Since the satellite era, all hurricanes are spotted, counted and named regardless of size or duration. But don’t take my word for it. NOAA scientist Chris Landsea, one of the leading experts on hurricanes said in a 2009 paper
“the increase (in the number of hurricanes) arises primarily from improvements in the quantity and quality of observations, along with enhanced interpretation techniques, which have allowed National Hurricane Center forecasters to better monitor and detect initial TC formation, and thus incorporate increasing numbers of very short-lived systems into the TC database”
Another paper by Villarini et al also points out that current technology is picking up and recording many more short term Tropical Storms of less than 2 days than before. It is also a fact that current satellite technology will upgrade storms and hurricanes in mid ocean just for a few hours before downgrading them again. A few years ago there simply would not have been the technology to spot such short term changes.
What else did they forget to tell?
Well, they could have mentioned NOAA’s findings that
As a result, the North Atlantic experiences alternating decades long (20 to 30 year periods or even longer) of above normal or below normal hurricane seasons. NOAA research shows that the tropical multi-decadal signal is causing the increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995, and is not related to greenhouse warming.
This cyclical behaviour correlates with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.
They might even have shown the ACE index (Accumulated Cyclone Energy)
This index accounts for both strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes, and clearly shows a decline in the last 5 years, back to the low level of the 1970’s.
They could have mentioned the remarkable absence of hurricanes making US landfall in the last 6 years or the fact there have many earlier decades with more major hurricane strikes than the last one.
And they could have mentioned another paper by Chris Landsea that concluded
contrary to many expectations that globally tropical cyclones may be becoming more frequent and/or more intense due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, regionally the Atlantic basin has in recent decades seen a significant trend of fewer intense hurricanes and weaker cyclones overall. In addition, the maximum intensity reached in each year has shown no appreciable change.”
There are lots of things they could have said. I wonder why they did not?
Why are the EPA telling school kids what to think anyway?