Jewish World Review Oct. 6, 2005 / 3 Tishrei,
President Bush, in his post-Hurricane Katrina address to the
nation, said, "And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do
its job right, I take responsibility." Accepting the blame for the federal
response is one thing, but I hope he doesn't shoulder the blame for the
In a Sept. 9th speech to the National Sierra Club Convention in
San Francisco, former Vice President Al Gore told the audience that
Hurricane Katrina and global warming are related. He warned, "We will face a
string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal
with the underlying causes of global warming."
Our European allies, most of whom have signed the Kyoto
Protocol, have been scathing in their attacks on President Bush. "Katrina
Should Be a Lesson to the U.S. on Global Warming," read a headline of the
German magazine Der Spiegel. Jurgen Tritten, Germany's environment minister
and a Green Party member, said, "The American president is closing his eyes
to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering
under natural catastrophes like Katrina."
Writing in the Aug. 30th edition of the Boston Globe, Ross
Gelbspan said, "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed
Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming."
President Bush, according to Gelbspan, is to blame because he's taken his
environmental policy from "big oil and big coal."
Major categories 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes are relatively rare. If
you check out the website of the National Hurricane Center
(www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml?), you'll find that the most active
hurricane decade was 1941-50 recording 24 hurricanes, with 10 of them
being giant category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes. The peak for major hurricanes
(categories 3, 4 5) came in the decades of the 1890s, 1930s and 1940s an
average of nine per decade. Of the 92 giant hurricanes that have struck the
U.S. mainland between 1851 and 2004, 61 of them occurred before 1950, long
before global warming was an issue.
Six noted tropical cyclone experts wrote a paper in the Bulletin
of the American Meteorological Society titled "Hurricanes and Global
Warming." Their three main points were: No connection has been established
between greenhouse gas emissions and the observed behavior of hurricanes.
The scientific consensus is that any future changes in hurricane intensities
will likely be small and within the context of observed natural variability.
Finally, the politics of linking hurricanes to global warming threatens to
undermine support for legitimate climate research and could result in
ineffective hurricane policies.
Stanley Goldenberg, a meteorologist at the Hurricane Research
Division of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, says,
"Katrina is part of a well-documented, multidecadal scale fluctuation in
hurricane activity. This cycle was described in a heavily cited article
printed in the journal Science in 2001." His colleague Chris Landsea agrees,
saying, "If you look at the raw hurricane data itself, there is no global
warming signal. What we see instead is a strong cycling of activity. There
are periods of 25 to 40 years where it's very busy and then periods of 25 to
40 years when it's very quiet."
About the connection between hurricanes and global warming,
Goldenberg concludes, "I speak for many hurricane climate researchers in
saying such claims are nonsense." The bottom line for President Bush is that
unless he's G-d, he shouldn't accept the blame for Hurricane
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