Policy Documents

AP Plays Ridiculous Global Warming Card on Hurricane Earl

James M. Taylor –
September 3, 2010

Hurricane activity since 2008 has been at its lowest level since at least the 1970s, but the Associated Press could not resist connecting Hurricane Earl with global warming in a September 2 article by Seth Borenstein.

Researchers at Florida State University’s Center for Ocean-Atmosphere Prediction Studies (COAPS) report, “Global [tropical cyclone] activity remains at 30-year lows at least.” [emphasis in the original]

Since 2005 “global tropical cyclone ACE [accumulated cyclone energy] has collapsed in half. This continues the now 4-consecutive years global crash in tropical cyclone activity. While the Atlantic on average makes up about 10% of the global, yearly hurricane activity, the other 90% deserves attention and has been significantly depressed since 2007,” the scientists report.

Nevertheless, AP’s Seth Borenstein writes, “Warm water, especially more than 80 degrees, fuels hurricanes. As a storm heads north, usually the water is cooler and the hurricane quickly runs out of steam. But not this time.”

“With global warming, water is likely to be warmer farther north than it is was [sic] for the past century,” Borenstein adds.

“August ACE for the Northern Hemisphere was 63 which is much less than the climatological average of 115, countered hurricane scientist Ryan Maue on the COAPS Web site. The Western Pacific again was much below average. It was indeed the Atlantic that produced two long-lived storms, Danielle and Earl that picked up some of the slack.”

“Northern Hemisphere year-to-date ACE is now over 50% below normal. The Western North Pacific is at 16% of normal (of the past 30-year average),” Maue explained.