Hurricane Florence is Not an Omen About Climate Change

By Published on September 13, 2018

In today’s hyper-politicized world of climate science, hardly a thunderstorm passes without somebody invoking the “scientists say” trope to blame it on carbon emissions.

The logic seems to be: If it’s bad, it was caused by carbon emissions, and we are only going to see more and worse. More and worse floods, droughts, tornadoes, and of course, hurricanes.

No Significant Trend

The problem with this argument is that overall, we are not seeing more floods, droughts, tornadoes, or hurricanes in spite of the steady rise in the small amount of carbon dioxide, and in spite of the mild warming of the planet. The data show that there is no significant upward trend in any of these weather events.

These are not the conclusions of climate skeptics. They are conclusions drawn by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This week, the Carolina coast and some yet-to-be-determined inland counties will endure the heavy and destructive rains of Hurricane Florence. Without a doubt, some places will see records broken.

As the hurricane arrives, talking heads will hit the airwaves claiming that “scientists say” it was caused by carbon emissions. Some may spin it more subtly, saying that while we cannot identify which storms are caused by increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the storms today are getting stronger and more frequent.

But this simply is not true. We are not seeing more frequent hurricanes, nor are we seeing a greater number of major hurricanes.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said as much in its latest science report:

Current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century and it remains uncertain whether any reported long-term increases in tropical cyclone frequency are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities. … No 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.

Cherry-Picking Endpoints

Be on the alert for those who quote the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as saying there has been an upward trend in hurricanes since the 1970s. That is a misleading claim. Hurricane landfalls actually fell for the decades before the 1970s.

Cherry-picking endpoints can produce “trends” that are either up or down. The fact is that for the past century, there is no trend.

Furthermore, there was never a time when the climate was stable (as some would claim), when weather events happened with smooth regularity. There have always been cycles — years and decades that included large numbers of hurricanes, and others with few.

Whether carbon dioxide levels rise, fall, or stay the same, we will continue to see hurricanes. Some of these hurricanes will be immensely destructive of both property and human life. Some will break records for wind and/or rain. And they will be tragic.

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The fact that tragic weather events have not stopped is not evidence that carbon emissions are leading us to a climate catastrophe. Perhaps we will see a decades-long increase in one category or another, it has happened before — but that will not prove the predictions of catastrophic climate change one way or the other.

Even if all of the mild (though uneven) warming that seems to have occurred over the past century were due to man-made carbon emissions, that would still not be a reason to fear for the future. The overall story does not point to climate catastrophe.

But weather catastrophes will continue to strike, and we will still face the danger wrought by nature’s wrath. Hurricane Florence is shaping up to be exactly such a storm.


Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

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  • Paul

    Wasn’t it about a month ago we were reading reports of Saharan dust subduing this years hurricanes? If we can’t trust a 1 month projection then how are we to trust such grand global climate hypotheses from the same people? I’ve been smelling the hooey for years, it just keeps coming.

    • Dave

      It was the same people. Who were they?

      • I’m assuming the same group that gives you memos on what to say while trolling.

        • Jim

          You’re calling out trolls? LMAO!

          • Yes. I do that regularly.

          • Jim

            Hypocrisy at its best

          • Do you have an argument? Do you EVER have an argument?

          • Jim

            Hypocrisy at its best.

          • So still no argument

          • Jim

            Hypocrite Go back to protecting your religious pedophiles.

          • Scandal was sodomites and young men

      • Paul

        Mainly folks in media making dramatic headlines, taking models and turning them into gospel. But there are orgs like NOAA who feed it. Seen it just in the past day, yesterday the hype was Florence would increase in strength from 4, a day later it is now a 2. It was suposed to go north but no longer. People scrambling at the predictions. I’ve experienced it locally here too many times to count. People are eager to know the future and the models get oversold and some use them to drive legislation impacting us all.

        For example here in Cali our govt just passed a law mandating all of Cali’s electricity must be carbon free by 2045. The cost to consumers will be staggering in a State already busting from the high cost of living. New homes starting in 2020 must have solar adding about $15-20k to already expensive homes. All this is based on the fear mongering of climate change, and our politicians wonder why we have a homeless and cost of living problem and seek to spend even more tax dollars in their quest for more of their ‘solutions’.

        • Dave

          So you can’t provide a single name. That’s what I thought

          • Paul

            So are you denying all the reports of Sahara dust stopping the storms or are you out to make useless shots?

          • Dave

            You wrote that the same people were reporting of Saharan dust subduing this years hurricanes and a grand global climate hypotheses. I just was curious who those people are. Evidently you just made it up so I’ve lost interest now.

          • Paul

            Yea, I must have read about Saharan dust impacting hurricanes in my dreams. Or maybe it was places like here:





            How quickly things change

          • Dave

            Oh I heard about the dust. I just wanted you to back up your claim that it was the same people who put forth the grand global climate hypothesis, a claim that you failed to back up

          • Paul

            Oh, you mean pages like this from the very same websites with their climate change gloom and doom?





  • Trilemma

    If Hurricane Florence is the result of global warming then why did it weaken so quickly? Shouldn’t have made landfall as a category 4 or 5?

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