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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ironical Isaac

Hurricane Isaac has forced the GOP will cancel the first day of its convention. I love the irony.

Take a look at this Time article from 2008: "Is Global Warming Worsening Hurricanes?"
All these hurricanes in such a short period of time begs the question: are storms getting stronger, and if so, what's causing it? According to a new paper in Nature, the answer is yes — and global warming seems to be the culprit. Researchers led by James Elsner, a meteorologist at Florida State University, analyzed satellite-derived data of tropical storms since 1981 and found that the maximum wind speeds of the strongest storms have increased significantly in the years since, with the most notable increases found in the North Atlantic and the northern Indian oceans. They believe that rising ocean temperatures — due to global warming — are one of the main causes behind that change. "There is a robust signal behind the shift to more intense hurricanes," says Judith Curry, chair of the school of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
More recently, James Hansen of NASA, along with Makiko Sato and Reto Ruedy, argued that global warming will necessarily cause both hot weather and increasingly violent storms:
“The other extreme of the hydrologic cycle, unusually heavy rainfall and floods, is also expected to be amplified by global warming. The amount of water vapor that the atmosphere holds increases rapidly with atmospheric temperature, and thus a warmer world is expected to have more rainfall occurring in more extreme events. What were “100-year” or “500-year” events are expected to occur more frequently with increased global warming.
Of course, most of the right-wingers going to the convention deny that man-made climate change exists. Will the GOP platform reflect that viewpoint? I suspect so. But the Republicans won't have to defend denialism on national television, since that day of the convention has been cancelled by a hurricane.
I am convinced and most alarmed by the AGW theory and its projections.

I must point out, however, that a low powered hurricane in the heart of the hurricane season, just prior to its historical peak time of mid-September, is not a hallmark of this phenomenon.

Rather, it is an entirely normal weather event for Florida, and should not be used as evidence for something it does not support (as it is predictable without AGW and in no way outside seasonal norms).

It is somewhat ironic, but its import beyond slight irony is slight, at most.


You realize we haven't had a hurricane hit U.S. land in 7 years, right?
sorry - should have been more precise - hit Florida - the peak area for hurricane landfall. Irene went up the east coast last year.
The parallel that speaks to me is the Brecht/Weill opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagony. Set, of course, in "Florida."

From the Wikipedia synopsis:

Scene 7: Begbick, Fatty and Moses meet to discuss the pleasure city's financial crisis.

Scene 11: Tensely, people watch for the hurricane's arrival. The men sing a hymn-like admonition not to be afraid. Jim meditatively compares Nature's savagery to the far greater destructiveness of Man. Why do we build, he asks, if not for the pleasure of destroying? Since Man can outdo any hurricane, fear makes no sense. For the sake of human satisfaction, nothing should be forbidden: If you want another man's money, his house or his wife, knock him down and take it; do what you please.

Scene 12: Magically, the hurricane bypasses Mahagonny, and the people sing in awe of their miraculous rescue. This confirms Begbick's belief in the philosophy of "Do what you want," and she proceeds to put it into effect.
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