May 23, 2006

Prognosis for 2006 Hurricane Season

What you think about the prediction from NOAA about the coming hurricane season is totally dependent on what news source you consume. The Houston Chronicle had two competing stories both based on AP content. The business section had a headline that indicated the 2006 hurricane season could be quite serious.

NOAA Foresees Active Hurricane Season

The headline of the bylined AP story downplays the concerns about the upcoming season.

Experts: Hurricane Season Won't Match '05

Meanwhile, here's the headline for the news release that the National Hurricane Center put out:

NOAA PREDICTS VERY ACTIVE 2006 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON: Residents in Hurricane Prone Areas Urged to Make Preparations

Which of the AP report headlines did a better job of conveying the news release?

Note: if you live in hurricane country, do get prepared as it appears that this hurricane season could be be bad, just not as bad as last year.

Scientists say that we might have to increase the scale for measuring hurricanes because some of the recent really bad hurricanes should actually be classified as Category 6. The sheer number of very large storms throughout the world are indications that global warming is certainly a factor.

In fact, says Greg Holland, the world already has seen far more frequent Cat 4s and 5s. He points to several studies published over the past 12 months which "indicated the frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes had almost doubled around the world in the period since 1970."

The fact that these patterns (on top of the natural cycles) have been seen in not just one ocean but all tropical and subtropical waters around the world is what worries many hurricane experts and, they say, it is why they now calculate that they are due to man-made global warming, not regional natural weather patterns.

"We're actually looking at an entire world that is heating up," says Holland, "not just the Atlantic Ocean which is why we are absolutely convinced that there is a very large greenhouse warming signal in what we're seeing."

In the past, say these scientists, when one region of the globe concentrated more heated water or air (both of which can intensify hurricanes), other regions would cool in compensation because the total heat available on the planet at any one time is limited; now, with the average global temperatures going up, such related cooling is happening less and less.

Greg Holland's research base the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. receives overwhelming evidence for the human contribution to global warming constantly now, challenging NCAR's ranks of world class climatologists (and their sleek black humming supercomputers in the basement) to produce ever more refined predictions of the planet's rising fever over the next few decades.

Posted by Mary at May 23, 2006 12:12 AM | Science | Technorati links |

'The Pheonix rises again on Global warming.'

Global warming super hurricanes should go to about 8.

Posted by: beenhadamock at May 23, 2006 06:32 AM