Exploiting Typhoon Haiyan: Climate Change Alarmists strike again

| November 15 2013
Greg Conterio

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and the devastation it wrought upon the Philippines, we have had the usual round of climate alarmist hysterics about anthropogenic global warming.  The comments of the Phillipine representative to the UN Climate Change talks however deserve special mention.  In his overwrought, emotional address, Naderev “Yeb” Sano made an array of assertions:

“Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms . . .  As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.”

He then followed up with a challenge:

“..anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare them to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian Ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannahs of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce.

“Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard of North America. And if that is not enough, they may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now.”

While the people of the Philippines have my heart-felt sympathy for their suffering in the wake of this terrible tragedy, it does not excuse the peddling of anti-scientific nonsense like that from Mr. Sano, who does not seem to have much of a clue what he’s talking about, despite his outpouring of emotion.

Global Warming does not have any connection to hurricanes and typhoons.  I don’t expect you to take my word for it; rather I would direct you to one of the world’s foremost experts on cyclonic storms, Dr. William Gray.  His 2011 paper in response to the IPCC’s AR4 Report gives a detailed (if technical) description of why any change in average global temperature would have no effect whatsoever on cyclonic storms, their frequency or intensity.  To put things in simple terms, the mistake Mr. Sano and many others routinely make is the erroneous assumption that hurricanes and typhoons are influenced entirely by water temperature, which is not the case.  They are instead influenced by the difference in temperature and moisture content of sea-level air and colder tropospheric air.  A rise in average global temperature will not cause any change in this relationship.  In fact, it may just as easily cause less of a temperature difference, resulting in less frequent, less intense storms.  In really simple terms, cyclonic storms are NOT caused by warmer water or warmer air.  They are caused by the mixing of warm, moist air, and cold drier air under certain conditions.  A rise in overall average global temperature is more likely to cause a decrease in this difference in temperature, not an increase.  And as Dr. Gray points out, the miniscule amount of claimed temperature increase is far too small to have any effect at all.

Sano also mentions the “fast dwindling polar ice caps.”  He apparently missed the many reports of the 66% increase (so far!) of arctic sea ice over that observed in 2012.  But what about the Antarctic sea ice, you ask?  Surely that’s dwindling?  Nope, it’s at a 35-year high.  But wait!  Sea levels are rising!  And the cause is the melting polar icecaps, so if the icecaps are actually increasing in size & thickness, how can the sea levels still be rising?  They’re not.  In this paper published by the Science and Public Policy Institute, Professor Nils-Axel Morner reviews satellite and tidal gauge data, and concludes there has been no meaningful rise in sea level in more than a decade.  In fact, data from the GRACE gravitational anomaly satellites, which are able to measure ocean mass, indicate a slight reduction in sea level, which better meshes with the observed increase in polar sea ice.

One of the interesting points related by Professor Morner is the assertion by one of the technicians monitoring the altimetry satellites that the raw data from the satellites showed no increase in sea level, leading him to conclude that data cited by various Climate Alarmist groups and government bodies had been altered.  (Michael Mann, please call your office!)  What about those Pacific Islands sinking into the ocean?  Again, they’re not.  But again, don’t take my word for it.  According to a study published this year, the islands they studied actually increased in size.

At some points in his speech, Mr. Sano seems to have just gone through a shopping list of common natural disasters, and arbitrarily attributed all of them to Global Warming.  Flooding in the major river deltas of the world?  We have historical records of such flooding going back hundreds of years, even to the Biblical period, long before the industrial age and the invention of SUVs.  They are RIVER DELTAS!  They periodically FLOOD!  There’s no evidence they flood more frequently or more severely now than they ever have before.  Aside from which, if this flooding is being caused by a global rise in sea level as Sano implies, the water would not recede to pre-flood levels.  This assertion is clearly incorrect based on simple direct observation.

Then there is the “glacial flooding.”  Again, as glaciers melt seasonally, adjacent areas flood, just as they always have.  Once again, this is an assertion with no supporting evidence.  The desertification of Africa?  According to work done by Dr. Allan Savory, we have had it all backwards.  He demonstrates how we have been directly contributing to desertification ourselves because of deliberate “green” policies!  It seems Mr. Sano is horribly ill-informed, and completely wrong about nearly everything he says.

Of course all this still ignores the elephant in the room: According to the very people who have been trying to create a panic about climate, there has been no discernable rise in average global temperature in about 20 years.  Talk about your inconvenient truth!

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