The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently posted a summary of research on the link between global warming and hurricanes, concluding it is “premature” to say human activities are making storms more powerful.
“It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming – have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity,” reads the research summary put together by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.
“That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modeled,” reads NOAA’s research summary.
The research, last updated in March 2017, reaffirms findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century.”
The IPCC’s 2013 synthesis report also found “[n]o robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”
For years, scientists have battled it out over whether man-made global warming has had a measurable impact on extreme weather events, like hurricanes. Climate models suggest hurricanes and cyclones could become more frequent and intense during the 21st Century.
Politicians and environmental groups often argue global warming is already making weather more extreme. Former President Barack Obama said on numerous occasions that man-made warming was already causing more droughts, storms and other events.
Increasingly, scientists are publishing attribution studies that claim to predict how much more likely a specific weather event was due to man-made warming. A group of scientists with the group World Weather Attribution said global warming made record-warm weather in February more likely.
But the evidence just isn’t there when it comes to most types of extreme weather.
University of Colorado researcher Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. said as much in a recent appearance before Congress.
Pielke noted the IPCC assigned “medium confidence” to research showing increases in heat waves and heavy rainfall events, but there’s not much evidence of a global warming link when it comes to pretty much all other categories of extreme weather.
“The lack of evidence to support claims of increasing frequency or intensity of hurricanes, floods, drought or tornadoes on climate timescales is also supported by the most recent assessments of the IPCC and the broader peer reviewed literature on which the IPCC is based,” Pielke noted in his prepared remarks.
At that same hearing, however, Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann said Pielke was out of the “mainstream” on global warming.
Mann said “at least 97% of scientist publishing in the field have all concluded, based on the evidence, that that climate change is real, is human-caused, and is already having adverse impacts on us, our economy, and our planet,” according to prepared remarks.
Mann offered no concrete reasons for why Pielke and the two other panelists at the hearing — climate scientists Judith Curry and John Christy — are wrong about warming. Instead, Mann personally attacked the researchers sitting next to him.
Pielke was quick to tweet out the results of NOAA’s latest summary of the impacts of global warming on extreme weather.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) April 4, 2017
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