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Is Al Gore right about hurricanes?

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Former Vice President Al Gore made misleading statements about hurricanes and weather in the same Washington Post interview where he compared people who disagree with him on global warming to racists, critics charge.

“The scientists are now adding category six to the hurricane… some are proposing we add category 6 to the hurricane scale that used to be 1-5,” Gore told the Post.

Gore used this point to argue that global warming is causing more intense weather events such as storms, heatwaves and droughts. People on both sides soon disputed Gore’s claim.

“But Gore’s statement about this new breed of hurricanes is patently false. There’s no new  hurricane category in the works,” wrote the Washington Post’s Jason Samenow, who first pointed out the misleading comment.

“There are no plans by the National Hurricane Center — the federal office responsible for categorizing storms — to create a new category,” wrote Gretchen Goldman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group. “Though, it is worth noting that the rest of the interview included accurate and important information and it’s unfortunate that this blip made its way in.”

“We are used to such feckless bloviations, such as when Gore said on national television the temperature below the Earth’s crust is millions of degrees. or when he adds reverse rotation airbrushed hurricanes to his book to make the weather look scarier,” wrote climate skeptic blogger Anthony Watts.

Samenow reached out to the National Weather Service who told him that:

“No, we’re not pursuing any such change. I’m also not sure who VP Gore means by ‘they.’ I’d also point out that the top rating, Category 5, has no ceiling: it includes hurricanes with top sustained winds of 157mph and higher.”

Environmentalists and politicians have been arguing that manmade global warming has been causing weather to become more extreme, despite recent evidence to the contrary.

A recently leaked UN global warming study claims that while hurricane activity has increased in intensity in the Atlantic Ocean since the 1970s, it’s unlikely because of human activity.

Furthermore, research by Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado found that weather events are becoming anything but extreme. Pielke told Congress that “on climate time scales in the US or globally, there has not been an increase in hurricanes, droughts, floods or tornadoes. The evidence for this claim is strong and is well-supported in the peer-reviewed literature, data collected by the U.S. government’s research agencies and the recent report on extreme events by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Pielke added that “the US has not seen an increase in hurricane landfall frequency or intensity since at least 1900, nor in measures of damage, normalized for societal change. In fact, the US is presently in the longest stretch without a Category 3+ hurricane landfall since at least 1900.”

The Post originally reported that Gore flatly stated a sixth category was being added, with no qualifier about it being proposed, but interviewer Ezra Klein has since written that he may have made a transcription error.

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