Part of the Problem

Comments:

  1. Dr Hawkins should not discuss what he does not understand. The climate is like weather - it is Chaotic. Of course one minute it is warming and the next cooling. But the general trend is up. Why didn't he say that?

    Of course Sandy was not unprecedented but it is an example of what will happen more frequently as a result of global warming. We have just seen two catastrophic hurricanes hitting the US within the last ten years.

    Once they hurricanes leave the tropics they are no longer known as hurricanes. They are called extra-tropical storms. Hawkins did not seem to know that. In fact the US meteorologists continued to call it a hurricane because they feared that the general public would think the change in name meant it had lost intensity.

  2. "But the general trend is up. Why didn’t he say that?"

    I think he did, actually.

    "We have just seen two catastrophic hurricanes hitting the US within the last ten years."

    The really big damage numbers are a very noisy statistic. I think it is true that storm radius and storm surge have been increasing.

    "Once they hurricanes leave the tropics they are no longer known as hurricanes."

    This is not precisely correct. Rather it is about what the dominant energy source for the storm is (atmospheric instability vs ocean surface evaporation). That Sandy was a marginal hurricane in either sense is of no obvious consequence. The damage was due to its track (influenced by an extraordinarily deep trough very much like the one we are experiencing right now and that is becoming more common) and its vast extent (also trending up). The mechanisms of both these trends are not really well-understood and neither was predicted in advance. But clearly they are happening in a context of global climate disruption.

    I am seeing criticism of Hawkins here and there, but, leaving aside that he gave a bit too much ground on Sandy in my opinion, I think he handled this distasteful situation admirably.


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