ASK people if they think there are more hurricanes than there used to be, or if they are getting stronger, and most will say yes. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1) Every time there is a hurricane, it is given 24/7 media coverage, complete with graphic images.
2) We are regularly told that they are by politicians and the media.
It is now common practice that whenever a bit of bad weather occurs, the BBC and other media outlets immediately try to link it to climate change, more often than not without the slightest evidence. Hurricanes are no exception. After Hurricane Ian hit Florida in September, the BBC was quick to publish a ‘Reality Check’ video, which brazenly claimed there was evidence that hurricanes were getting more powerful, and that there were now so many hurricanes that we were running out of alphabetical names for them.
Naturally the climate lobby, well-funded to stoke up alarm, are eager to jump on board and play on the public’s fears and gullibility. In our topsy-turvy world politicians and policymakers seem to believe what the media tell them rather than the experts who spend their lives researching hurricanes. And for years those same experts have been telling us that there are no such trends.
At the end of November the official Atlantic hurricane season ended, so it is a good time to review trends again.
For most of the world, we have very little reliable data on hurricanes prior to the satellite era, which only began to offer comprehensive coverage in the 1980s. (Note that hurricanes are called typhoons and cyclones in other parts of the world. Generically they are all referred to as Tropical Cyclones.)
Aircraft monitoring tentatively began in the 1940s near the US coast, but the aircraft were not built to fly into the centre of powerful hurricanes. Before that there were only sporadic observations from ships.
However there is plenty of good data for hurricanes which made landfall on the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts, with records going back to the mid 19thC. This data, which is compiled by the official US Hurricane Research Division, clearly shows there are no long-term trends in the frequency of hurricanes. Nor are the stronger hurricanes, Category 3 and over, becoming more common.
Source: US Hurricane Research Division
Hurricane scientists consistently say that there no such trends either. One study published just last year stated: ‘We find that recorded century-scale increases in Atlantic hurricane and major hurricane frequency are consistent with changes in observing practices and not likely a true climate trend. After homogenization, increases in basin-wide hurricane and major hurricane activity since the 1970s are not part of a century-scale increase.’
NOAA, the US Federal climate agency, agrees: ‘There is no strong evidence of century-scale increasing trends in U.S. landfalling hurricanes or major hurricanes, Similarly for Atlantic basin-wide hurricanes (after adjusting for observing capabilities), there is not strong evidence for an increase since the late 1800s in hurricanes, major hurricanes, or the proportion of hurricanes that reach major hurricane intensity.’
They could not really make it any plainer!
To cap it off, there no trends in global hurricane activity either since the start of the satellite era:
Courtesy of Dr Ryan N Maue
But you will never hear about any of this from the BBC, who will carry on peddling their lies regardless of the facts.
BBC hype a mild autumn
FOR most of us this autumn has been pleasantly mild. But the BBC, who are determined to present this year’s weather as ‘extreme’, prefer to label it as a ‘significant meteorological event’.
Overall it was not as warm as the autumns of 2006 and 2011. No monthly temperature records were set, or came close. No daily records were broken for any month. It was not exceptional in any way.
The BBC and Met Office are already linking the mild weather to global warming. But as the BBC itself admits, temperatures have been higher than average for most of the season because of meteorological conditions. In November, for instance, our weather was dominated by mild, south-westerly winds. In short, we have had the temperatures we would have expected from the weather conditions.
But the BBC, desperate to make it all sound apocalyptic, also claimed that there had been exceptional amounts of rain, saying: ‘It was wetter than average for all four nations this autumn and it was the wettest one for the UK as a whole since 2000. That year brought episodes of damaging gales and flooding.’
To attempt to bracket this autumn with the exceptional wet one in 2000 is fraudulent. There quite simply is no comparison:
There have been many years in the past with wetter autumns. The only reason we have to go back to 2000 to find a wetter one is the lack of wet autumns since, rather than this year’s being unusually wet. From a historical perspective this autumn’s rainfall would have been regarded as par for the course.
No month was exceptionally wet either. The wettest was November, but this only ranked as 22nd wettest since 1936:
Unsurprisingly, then, there was no serious flooding this autumn, only the usual localised problems we get every year.
Of course we have not always been so lucky with our weather. Autumn is often the time of year when the most serious flooding occurs, like the catastrophic floods in Devon in October 1960.
Or the Surrey floods in September 1968, which were described by the leading meteorologist of his time, the late Philip Eden, as the most severe inland flood to hit the Home Counties in the last 100 years, and which left 25,000 homes inundated.
The wettest month of all in the UK was October 1903. The Times recalled that event in an article three years ago: ‘One small consolation is that the weather was worse in October 1903. That was the UK’s wettest October on record and broke all the rainfall records for every month of the year in England and Wales going back to 1766. The country was battered by “fearful” storms and “extraordinary” rainfalls that led to devastating floods across wide swathes of the country.’
Talking of storms, we will never forget the Great Storm in October 1987.
Less well known is the Black Friday storm which hit Scotland in October 1881, and killed 191 people.
And we have been lucky too to escape the snow and blizzards which often arrive at this time of year.
But the BBC seem to be more concerned about a spot of mild weather!