Climate Expert on Hurricanes: Numbers of Storms Actually Drop as Oceans Warm Up
Climate Expert on Hurricanes: Numbers of Storms Actually Drop as Oceans Warm Up

By Bill Pan

As climate change alarmists try to link the catastrophic storm that hit Florida with human-caused global warming, geologist and climate expert Gregory Wrightstone refutes such claims, saying they aren’t based on facts.

The director of the educational organization CO2 Coalition and expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Wrightstone said his own family living in Wimauma, a town 20 miles south of Tampa, had to evacuate to Georgia in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which landed on Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 and left a trail of destruction.

“I was writing a commentary—as Hurricane Ian gathered strength—about how quiet this hurricane season has been, then I got slammed by this hurricane,” Wrightstone told NTD News, adding that he finds this experience “ironic.” That being said, he noted that satellite-based records do show a drop in the number of Atlantic storms over the past 40 years.

“We know for a fact that the number of hurricanes has not been increas[ing], and you can recognize a slight decline,” Wrightstone told NTD. “And in fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees. They state there is no evidence showing an increase in hurricanes. They don’t go as far as to say there’s been a decline.”

According to a summary of IPCC’s latest assessment report by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), not only that there is a decreasing trend in Atlantic hurricanes during the satellite era, but also that major U.S. landfalling storms, or those of Category 3 to 5, have no significant increase since the late 1800s.

Not Statistically Meaningful

When asked whether there is any data to suggest the common notion that warmer oceans make hurricanes more severe, Wrightstone replied that even though warmth may make storms become slightly stronger, the actual effects are too small to be statistically meaningful.

Wrightstone pointed to the work of Christopher W. Landsea, who directs the tropical analysis and forecast program at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. According to Landsea, a 0.5°C (1°F) ocean temperature warming has likely made hurricanes stronger by about 1 percent, meaning that for an already powerful storm like Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005, a warmer ocean would add about 2 mph to Katrina’s 170 mph winds.

“The 1-2 mph change currently in the peak winds of strong hurricane[s] due to man-made global warming is so tiny that it is not measurable by our aircraft and satellite technologies available today, which are only accurate to about 10 mph for major hurricanes,” Landsea wrote in 2011.

Wrightstone agreed with Landsea. “I don’t think if Hurricane Ian came on shore, you could tell the difference between 153 and 152 miles per hour,” he said. “It’s so small, you can’t even measure that.”

When it comes to what is causing the Earth to warm up, Wrightstone said there is not enough evidence to prove that this can be attributed entirely to human activities.

“We don’t know how much this is caused by man. We’ve warmed about little less than 1°C since 1900. That’s not too alarming to me. And that’s all the warming we’ve seen,” he told NTD. “Go back the last 10,000 years, there were nine other warming trends similar to where we are today. Five of those nine had higher rates of warming than we saw in the 20th century.”

“So to conclude that increasing CO2 is driving this warming is just not supported by the data,” he continued. “We do agree that Co2 is a greenhouse gas and has some warming influence, but we see it as being completely overestimated by the IPCC and the climate industrial complex.”

As of Friday, Hurricane Ian had made its second and final landfall in South Carolina after leaving Florida, where at least 20 people were killed. According to the National Hurricane Center, Ian struck the coast Friday afternoon near Georgetown, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

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