Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Glow-ball Vorming

Most of the German MSM is gleefully hailing Global Warming caused by US energy profligacy as the cause of Katrina. Strangely, spite of this the $ is holding up fine.

This is a common European fantasy, satirized by the late, very lamented, Diplomad. Here are some quotes from Spiegel Online, always a rich source of humor.

Scientists are quite calmly saying that we will see this kind of thing more often. After all, this is what they have been forecasting for years -- climate change, human-caused and irreversible.
...
"People will argue about the causes of climate change for a long time to come," the paper writes. "But its effects are already reality. They are called Katrina...
...
US hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that shows a rising tendency for hurricanes that exactly reflects the curve of greenhouse gases. German scientists from the Max-Planck Institute hail the study as the first proof of a real link. "If this man-made warming continues, we will have to expect stronger storms in future" Emmanuel tells the paper.

I'm guessing the guys at Max-Planck skipped the statistics lecture that taught that correlation does not imply, let alone provide "first proof of", causation. For example, the fact that all states voting for Kerry in 2004 are next to large & cold bodies of water does not prove that cold water causes delusions.

All is not lost, one German paper talks sense:

"hurricanes are a natural phenomenon. They occurred long before humans could be affected by them. Whether the frequency and intensity of these storms has truly increased in recent years has not yet been proven with statistics."

Whether humans have aversely affected the Earth's climate or not, the paper says, one thing is clear "we have modern technology to thank that Katrina was not able to do more damage." Indeed, thanks to early warning systems, the people of New Orleans were evacuated before the storm hit. "One hundred years ago, a tropical storm as strong as Katarina would likely have caused many deaths, because it would have hit people unawares."

Indeed! Opinion Journal quotes (gasp) the NYT:

Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught "is very much natural," said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950's and 60's. From 1995 to 2003, 32 major hurricanes, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, stormed across the Atlantic. It was chance, Dr. Gray said, that only three of them struck the United States at full strength.