Friday, August 26, 2011

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

You knew this was coming. From Bill McKibben:

Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.
As she roars up the Eastern Seaboard, everyone is doing what they should—boarding windows, preparing rescue plans, stocking up on batteries. But a lot of people are also wondering: what’s a “tropical” storm doing heading for the snow belt?
Only one Category 3 Storm has hit Long Island since the 1800s; that was the great unnamed storm of 1938, which sent 15-foot storm waters surging through what are now multimillion-dollar seaside homes.

While hurricanes in the Northeast have been rare lately, they were much more common when global temperatures were cooler. Via Wikipedia, here is a list of hurricanes that have struck New York City and caused significant damage:

  • September 23, 1875
  • August 19, 1788
  • October 9, 1804
  • September 16, 1816
  • September 3, 1821
  • October 13, 1846
  • October 6, 1849
  • October 28, 1872
Now, here is a graph of world temperatures back to 1846 which is as far back as these records go:

So, it is safe to say the cause and effect, if any, is the opposite of what Mr. McKibben is proposing. Global warming seems to decrease hurricanes in the Northeast.  

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