The Mudville Gazette
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Friday, September 02, 2005

Got Them Ol' Global Warming Blues Again

Or Hurricanes, and all that Jazz.

The National Hurricane Conference is an annual meeting of meteorologists, city officials, emergency managers, first responders, media/communications specialists, insurance industry types, medical folks, military reps, and a host of others who might have a role in preparation for and response to a landfalling hurricane. The yearly conference includes training, discussions, and presentations all designed to help communities prepare for such an event. This year's conference was hosted by New Orleans, and no doubt the impact of hurricane Katrina there was much reduced due to the enthusiastic participation of the city's key leaders in that event.

By odd coincidence the last time I was in New Orleans was to attend a previous National Hurricane Conference, an event I discussed here. (With a follow-up story here.)

Hopefully you stopped and read those two links - they're part of this discussion. But I'm no expert. If you're interested in what the nation's (no, the world's) recognized leading authority on hurricanes has to say about the recent "increase in intensity" of storms, you might enjoy reading this interview with Dr William Gray in this month's Discover magazine.

An excerpt:
With last year’s hurricane season so active, and this year’s looking like it will be, won’t people say it’s evidence of global warming?

G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle ’90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

Why is there scientific support for the idea?

G: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing—all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Now that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?

Are your funding problems due in part to your views?

G: I can’t be sure, but I think that’s a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.
I repeat, I'm no expert (just a guy who's survived a half dozen or so such storms) but if you're interested in more thoughts from this comparably dumb schmuck on the topic, see here. For the record I think there has been an exaggeration in the "intensities of recent storms" - and we're paying the price for it now.
But what about next time? Sensational type reporting - and exaggeration of minor storms into major stories - contributes to the lack of response on the part of many to a major storm when one does come along. People who erroneously believe they've survived a cat 3-4 storm will be in for a rude surprise when a real one moves in.
But now the global warming crowd has found their Cindy Sheehan, and her name is Katrina. They won't let her go.