Kerry Emanuel: Climate Change Pumping Intensity of Hurricanes

September 18, 2012

11 Responses to “Kerry Emanuel: Climate Change Pumping Intensity of Hurricanes”

  1. rayduray Says:

    How disappointing. I’ve read Kerry Emanuel’s “Divine Wind” and it tripled my understanding of how tropic cyclones form, power up and devastate our infrastructure:

    Peter, do you have a date when this video was made? It would make a considerable difference if this is old footage and Kerry was being misled by the anomaly of 2005 or if he’s done this interview this year, then shame on him for cheating on the data.

    One of the very best tools I know of for measuring cyclonic activity is the Accumulated Cyclonic Energy calculation:

    If we look without too much care or intelligence at the chart here: what becomes perfectly obvious is that there is no discernible trend over the past 120 years.

    Now 2005 was an extreme outlier.So if Kerry was creating this interview in, say, December, 2005, he could be excused for being a bit histrionic and hysterical.

    But if he gave this interview recently, MIT might want to consider putting him out to pasture.

    So far, an entirely obsessed segment of the blogosphere are trying to make a big deal out of the Atlantic hurrican season. Sadly for them, Mother Nature is not remotely cooperating with their desires for mayhem and madness.

    Not with a whimper, but a sigh:

    Or, as we say in Oregon, “The Atlantic Snore Season Is Upon Us”.

    • ontspan Says:

      Not so fast Ray. You’re linking to yearly total hurricane power dissipation (ACE) while Kerry talks about the increase in average individual hurricane power which is a whole different ballgame.

      The 2001 IPCC TAR and 2007 IPCC AR4 report agree with Kerry on this as they project an increase in tropical storm peak wind intensity in some areas and also a reduced frequency, which explains that total dissipated energy hasn’t risen as much. As such, Kerry’s remarks in the video above are, indeed, the consensus position.

      • rayduray Says:

        Re: “Not so fast Ray. You’re linking to yearly total hurricane power dissipation (ACE) while Kerry talks about the increase in average individual hurricane power which is a whole different ballgame.”

        I’m happy to slow down. But I’m not seeing what Kerry is speculating about. I’ve been following hurricanes quite closely since 2005, which was a monster year both in terms of ACE as well as the consequences of individual storms in that year’s Atlantic series.

        But even 2005 doesn’t correspond to the speculative vision of more infrequent but stronger storms. 2005 offered both. And then the subsequent years were quiet in comparison.

        I’m vastly more interested in the record than I am in the speculation about what might or might not happen in the future. Speculations all too often tend to go bust.

        • ontspan Says:

          We’re not talking speculation here, Ray, just simple verifiable facts.

          You’re talking about, and linking to, the ACE index which is an index for yearly cumulative hurricane power.

          Kerry is clearly talking about the increase in maximum windspeeds in individual hurricanes, not about cumulative yearly numbers. A big difference. The expected increase in maximum windspeeds IS a model and theory projection and is shared by nearly everyone in the field and is mentioned as such in at least two IPCC reports, hence Kerry’s remark about consensus position.

          As you said, Kerry knows what he’s talking about. The rest is your interpretation/projection of his words. Maybe watch the video again?

          • rayduray Says:

            I come at this from the perspective of a psychological study of propaganda techniques.

            What Emanuel was doing was stating easily disputable contentions which is fodder for the fossil fuel frauds.

            It was a lousy interview and your defense of his science, while incomprehensible to me since you fail to offer any facts, is easy meat for the meathead crowd.

            My point was and is that Emanuel didn’t do us any good with that News Hour three minute interview.

            Again, to beat you over the head with this. I’m looking at this as a propagandist must. It’s all about messaging. Kerry’s message is so easily disputed that he didn’t win us any points in the battle for the consciousness of the great unconscious American human neuro-protoplasmic blob. He didn’t move the dial. And he’s set up our side for another denialist attack.

            And please keep in mind that whatever the well-meaning fools at IPCC wish, they are like any overgrown bureaucracy. Half their (assume the) position papers are based on university employees not willing to rock the boat because of their fear of losing pensions or tenure. Half of them can’t tell the difference between passion and passionfruit. and the other half are too diplomatic by half. Notice…. my math adds up… oddly enough.

  2. ontspan Says:

    The first question is:
    “What is the connection between how our planet is changing and the increasing intensity of hurricanes?”

    To which Kerry answers:
    “… that makes hurricanes more powerfull. That hurricane power … from about 1980 till now has roughly doubled in the North Atlantic.

    Increase in hurricane intensity, not cumulative yearly hurricane power.

    The second question is:
    “… or the dominant influence in why the hurricane intensity is increasing?”

    To which Kerry answers:
    “I think there is a very strong antropogenic signal in Atlantic hurricane power”

    Again, it is about hurricane intensity, not cumulative yearly hurricane power.

    Regarding hurricane damage Kerry says:
    “… that is sensitive to the strength of the winds blowing across the water and also the physical size of the storm. We expect both to increase in the highest category of storm.”

    Again, it is about hurricane intensity, not cumulative yearly hurricane power.

    About hurricane numbers Kerry says:
    “So the consensus in our field about hurricanes going forward is that we ought to see an increase in the frequency of the most intense hurricanes, the category 3, 4 to 5. Globally. On the average globally.”

    Again, no word about total cumulative yearly hurricane power or an overall increase in hurricanes.

    So it is clear, you haven’t been listening and that the one who is uttering propaganda is… you. Post your strawmen and red herring arguments somewhere else.

    • rayduray Says:

      My goodness ontspan,

      You are reminding me of the old joke about why academic arguments are so fierce. It is because there is so little at stake.

      I’ve been following hurricanes in season on a near daily basis since the 2005 season. Largely, this is through the Jeff Masters’ blog which I highly recommend.

      I’ll grant you that 2005 was an anomalous year in the hurricane record. But since then, I would say it is hard to find statistically significant proof of Kerry’s assertion about an increase in Cat 4 and Cat 5 storms over previous periods of intense hurricane activity.

      What science seems to have worked out is that there are long term atmospheric and oceanic cycles that interact to create periods of relative intensity on something approximating a 30 year cycle. There’s the ENSO cycle, the AMO, , somewhat cyclical variation in SSTs. No one I am aware of has created a perfect model for how all this comes together to create yearly variations in the number of storms and the number of super-hurricanes. And there’s scant to no evidence of global warming’s impact on our storms, other than that we’ve had Irene, Debbie and Isaac create unusual wet storms due to blocking patterns. But so far, these cannot be described as a climate trend, but rather as an anomaly of the weather.

      I’ll end by saying that my critique was not upon Kerry Emanuel personally whom I have a great deal of respect for. I’m shocked at the bitterness of your ad hominem attack against me however. I was trying to be useful. I can’t tell what your intention is, but it is unpleasant, unnecessary and an apology would be in order.

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