Matt McGrath Trumpets the Latest Hurricane Junk Science

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By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

More from the clueless Matt McGrath:

Climate change will expand the range of tropical cyclones, making millions more people vulnerable to these devastating storms, a new study says.

At present, these cyclones – or hurricanes as they are also known – are mainly confined to the tropical regions north and south of the equator.

But researchers say that rising temperatures will allow these weather events to form in the mid-latitudes.

This area includes cities such as New York, Beijing, Boston and Tokyo.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The scientists involved say their work shows by the end of this century, cyclones will likely occur over a wider range than they have for three million years.

When subtropical storm Alpha made landfall in Portugal in September 2020, the relatively small scale of damage caused by the cyclone made few headlines.

But for scientists this was quite a momentous event.

Dr Studholme is the lead author of this new study, which projects that a warming climate will see the formation of more of these types of storms in the mid-latitudes, where most of the world’s population lives, and where most economic activity takes place.

Quite what is unusual about a subtropical storming hitting Portugal eludes me.

But the idea that tropical cyclones don’t already affect places like New York and Tokyo is absurd. If anything, the numbers are actually declining.

Between 1950 and 1991, nine hurricanes made landfall in New York state or further north. Since then the only strike was Sandy in 2012. (Even the inclusion of Sandy is debatable, since it was officially classified as an extratropical storm at landfall)

As for Japan, the mainland is hit by an average of three typhoons every year:

 About 30 typhoons form each year over the Northwest Pacific Ocean, of which an average of about seven or eight pass over Okinawa Prefecture, and about three hit the Japanese main islands, especially Kyushu and Shikoku. But any region of Japan, including TokyoOsaka and Hokkaido can be visited by typhoons.

And apart from the record year of 2004, they are not becoming more frequent:

Finally, let’s return to that storm in Portugal. This was the meteorological coverage at the time:

Winds at sea were estimated at 50 mph, declining to 35 mph overland. This is hardly unprecedented.

Significantly the above link from the Weather Channel, which gives a good explanation of the difference between subtropical and other storms comments:

Subtropical storms were not officially recognized until the beginning of the satellite era, and they weren’t named until 2002.

The naming of subtropical storms only since 2002 explains why the number of named storms, including hurricanes, has ostensibly gone up.

The NWS also elaborate:

The NHC began naming subtropical storms in 2002. Between 1968 and 2001, subtropical storms were simply given numbers (“One”, “Two”, etc). Before 1968, subtropical storms were never classified as such, but were sometimes called “Unnamed storm”. A landmark study performed by Herbert and Poteat (1975) led to a substantial increase in the identification and naming of subtropical storms in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, when Bob Sheets became director of the National Hurricane Center between 1987 and 1995, he declared that subtropical storms should not be recognized, and very few subtropical storms were classified during this period. Prior to 1968, there are many systems that were subtropical in the Atlantic that should have been included in the official HURDAT database. I’ve seen estimates that 5-10 storms were missed in the 1950s, and ten storms between 1969 and 1999. A reanalysis effort is underway to include these “missed” storms into the database. However, it will be several years before this process is complete.

And as NWS show, subtropical storms typically form in the mid-latitudes already.

This is no more than the usual junk science intended to scare the kids. It makes no attempt to use actual data to justify its assertions, which are all based around modelling.

And, naturally, it is faithfully trumpeted by the BBC, without any attempt to challenge the findings, or even bother to ask hurricane experts for their opinions.


DECEMBER 30, 2021