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September 19, 2005

Katrina

A Couple Of Observations Lost In All The Din

Some people have asked what I make of the Katrina disaster. Is there a connection to Global Warming, as we're hearing from some directions. My answer is that I don't think it has anything to do with the pet villains of any religious fanaticism, either Environmentalist or Biblical.

Here's an interesting finding from Benny Peiser at Liverpool John Moore's University in the UK.

(Begin quote)
What strikes me about the latest Science study on hurricane intensity here and here is the apparent failure to assess whether similar periods of storm intensity were observed in the past. This question is, of course, relevant for anyone who wishes to associate the rise in hurricane intensity with global warming. After all, if similar periods of 'intense' cyclone and hurricane activity occurred when global mean temperatures were significantly lower than today, the alleged correlation between the current warming and storm intensity would be highly questionable. I had a look at NOAA's historical hurricane statistics and found that the late 19th century appears to be a period of higher hurricane intensity (as measured by "Accumlated Cyclone Energy") compared to the late 20th century. I have attached the empirical evidence (two 35-year sets of ACE data) below and welcome any comments on the validity and possible implications of this comparison.

Benny Peiser
Liverpool -- John Moores University
http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/

Accumlated Cyclone Energy (combines the numbers of systems, how long they existed and how intense they became) - http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/E11.html

1969-20031877-1911
ACEACE
1969 1581877 73
1970 341878 181
1971 971879 64
1972 281880 131
1973 431881 59
1974 611882 63
1975 731883 67
1976 811884 72
1977 251885 58
1978 621886 166
1979 911887 182
1980 1471888 85
1981 931889 104
1982 291890 33
1983 171891 116
1984 711892 116
1985 881893 231
1986 361894 135
1987 341895 69
1988 1031896 136
1989 1351897 55
1990 911898 113
1991 341899 150
1992 751900 84
1993 391901 93
1994 321902 33
1995 2271903 102
1996 1661904 25
1997 401905 28
1998 1821906 163
1999 1771907 13
2000 1161908 95
2001 1061909 92
2002 661910 64
2003 1751911 36
35 year average
86.6 ACE93.9 ACE
(End quote)

Another interesting item that Henry Palka brought to my attention is that as far back as the 1970s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers drew up plans for building a system of floodgate defenses against precisely the kind of situation that eventually happened, but were blocked by a lawsuit brought by Environmentalist activists focused on preserving the wetlands.

On December 30, 1977, the court issued an injunction against the Lake Pontchartrain hurricane protection project, demanding that the engineers draw up a second environmental impact statement, three years after the Corps submitted the first one. The pronouncement handed down by the judge would be priceless for its irony if the circumstances were not so tragic: "It is the opinion of the Court that plaintiffs herein have demonstrated that they, and in fact all persons in this area, will be irreparably harmed if the barrier project based upon the August, 1974 FEIS [federal environmental impact statement] is allowed to continue."

Well, the Environmentalists sure got their wetlands.

Full story at http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19418

 
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