In April, two respected climatologists at Colorado State University, Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, released their 2006 hurricane forecast in which they called for “another very active Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season in 2006. Landfall probabilities for the 2006 hurricane season are well above their long-period averages.”

What actually happened? As reported in this Bloomberg News report:

The Atlantic Ocean produced nine hurricanes and tropical storms this year, the fewest in almost a decade, defying predictions it would approach last year’s record season, Colorado State University forecasters said.

This year’s storms, which included five hurricanes, were the fewest in the Atlantic basin since seven formed in 1997.

No hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. this year, the first time that has happened since 2001 and only the 11th time since 1945, Gray said in the statement. Three tropical storms made landfall this year.”

As late as August, NOAA lowered their estimate but only from a range of 8-10 hurricanes to a range of 7-9.

It is important to note that Bill Gray is NOT a global warming fear-monger and that he regularly ascribes changes in hurricane seasons to natural variation and not to “human-induced global warming.”

But Bill Gray is the exception, not the rule. A typical example of the mainstream media’s buying in to global warming hysteria is this story in USA Today: “Global warming stoked ’05 hurricanes, study says“. It is one of hundreds of articles which accept as fact some theories by scientists who have both a political and career motivation to scare us into believing that the world will come to an end if we don’t listen to them.

Another typical example is at StopGlobalWarming.org:
http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_stop.asp?id=29

I must say that web site makes me laugh out loud. When I was a kid, I saw an ad for a joke organization (in Smithsonian Magazine) for the Society to Prevent Continental Drift. I signed up. But I knew it was a joke, and an impossible task. This is how I feel about the “stop global warming” movement, the Kyoto Treaty, etc. Even the supporters of Kyoto say that it might lower temperatures by no more than half a degree total over the course of several decades at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars of economic output.

An important thing to keep in mind when you read frightening articles such as that one is that a very large part of the increasing damage done by hurricanes over the years is because of the increasing density of population along the Gulf and Florida coasts, and the increasing value of the property there. It is NOT that we are regularly getting more and stronger hurricanes with any trend that a scientist without a political axe to grind would claim to be statistically significant.

There are also other reasons why we might hear reports of more or stronger hurricanes, such as better technology to see hurricanes and better measuring systems to determine their strength. There’s an interesting discussion of this angle in this article at the Heartland Institute web site:
2006 Season Casts Doubt on Warming

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