Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Merchants of Fear

Remember how I linked in a previous post to the 2006 predictions of Dr. Gray? How in the report Dr. Gray assigns blame for the increase in storms to the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation[AMO]? Or I attributed the rise in damage by hurricanes was not caused by the increase in storm intensity but due to a marked increase in the US population living on vulnerable coastline?

Then there is the National Hurricane Center's own report: The Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492 - 1996. The Great Hurricane of 1780 predates all this Global Warming mythos and killed upto 22,000 people.

It has still not stopped the panderers of panic from peddling their global warming snake oil, even when their supporting evidence contradicts their assertion.

"Remember, for each 10 mph increase of wind speed," says atmosphere scientist Greg Holland, "there's about 10 times more damage, and 20 times more financial loss."
In other words, the increase is not "linear" but "exponential."
To put this all in perspective, Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane out over some hot spots in the Gulf. But when it hit New Orleans, scientists now know, Katrina had winds at a low Category 3, and much of them Category 2, including the "left side winds" that then came down from the north and pushed the surge-swollen waters of Lake Pontchartrain over and through NOLA's levees. (Hurricanes spin counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, so when Katrina came ashore just east of New Orleans, its winds hit the city from the north.)
The Saffir-Simpson Scale is a yardstick to measure the possible damage a storm can do. It is not exact, just like the Fujita scale for tornadoes is only a yardstick for estimated damage. Katrina proves how inaccurate that scale can be since it was only a Category 2/3 and yet still devastated vast swathes of land, what made Katrina extra destructive was its slow speed and sheer size of covering four states as the storm made landfall.

And once again the writer goes with the vague 'many scientists' while only using Holland as the sole named source. I wish the writer had talked with Dr. Gray, who is the recognized authority on hurricanes and who also missed how many storms 2005 produced, but he deals in predictions based on historical data and not hot-air. It is called predictions for a reason, it is trying to forecast future events and if Dr. Gray could be 100% right on hurricanes then I would want him as my stock broker.

But not content with allusions of Category 6 super storms and global warming hysteria; the merchants of fear are now battling against the growing tide of those who do not buy into their hypothesis by blaming, who else? The oil and coal companies with their tentacles in the White House have subverted their warning message. It is a conspiracy they tell us. Right. It is always a conspiracy, be it a vast right wing one to cheap oil. Keep shilling that screed and guess what, people start to know you are a nutcase and avoid you.

No comments: