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NPR tries and fails to connect ‘slow moving hurricanes’ like Dorian to ‘climate change’

By Anthony Watts

Since Dorian didn’t cause any significant U.S. death and devastation that the MSM was looking forward to covering in the vein of “See, climate change!”. NPR had a go at it though, citing a NOAA study that is nothing more than an exercise in cherry picking data. The slow movement of Hurricane Dorian prompted the search for connections.

Is Climate Change Contributing To Slower Moving Hurricanes?

NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to atmospheric scientist Jim Kossin of NOAA about why more hurricanes like Dorian are moving at slower speeds, and if that has anything to do with climate change. Link to audio interview.

The study cited has data that produces this graph, prepared by “Inside Climate News” one of Tom Steyer’s well funded PR outlets if I recall correctly. They wrote:

Hurricane Dorian’s slow, destructive track through the Bahamas fits a pattern scientists have been seeing over recent decades, and one they expect to continue as the planet warms: hurricanes stalling over coastal areas and bringing extreme rainfall.

Recent research shows that more North Atlantic hurricanes have been stalling as Dorian did, leading to more extreme rainfall. Their average forward speed has also decreased by 17 percent—from 11.5 mph, to 9.6 mph—from 1944 to 2017, according to a study published in June by federal scientists at NASA and NOAA.

Note the starting point, 1944. Also note that the majority of “slow moving hurricanes” are during the satellite era, when hurricane tracking improved by at least an order of magnitude.

“Climate Denial Crock of the Week” producer, Peter Sinclair jumped all over this of course on Twitter “See, climate change!” But atmospheric scientist Wei Zhang would have none of it.

Peter Sinclair@PeterWSinclair

Stalling Storms a Climate Trend? 

View image on Twitter

Wei Zhang@WeiZhangAtmos

Many of the slowest moving storms were a long time ago

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Later in the Twitter thread, there is this telling exchange:

So in a nutshell:

There’s no good storm motion data from earlier recorded hurricanes.

  • What data they had has been “reconstructed” from old charts, which may or may nor be accurate.
  • The study cited doesn’t go back further than 1944, which means the majority of data is from the post 1960 (TIROS-1) satellite era, which is more accurate as a given. This skews the data set towards the present, while the past remains highly uncertain.
  • The study’s graph from 1944 ignored data on slow moving hurricanes as far back as 1915. Evidence exists that many slow moving hurricanes occurred well before the satellite era.

Here is the chart Wei Zhang presented:

Cherry picking to fit the climate alarm agenda, clear and simple.

Wei Zhang said this when the Dorian threat loomed large:

Wei Zhang@WeiZhangAtmos

Hurricanes are awful. Now is a good time to remind science deniers that there is no observational data to suggest they are any worse than they used to be. Not stronger or more frequent or producing more rain.

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He’s talking about people like Peter Sinclair and Tom Steyer….and people like this, captured by cartoonist Rick McKee: