Close this search box.

NOAA official to CNN’s Don Lemon: No, ‘climate change’ is not responsible for Hurricane Ian


Just think — CNN viewers can soon start off their mornings with this ‘just the facts” approach to news every day. Yee, and may I add, haw.

As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, NOAA’s Jamie Rohme tried to deliver at least a little good news, which is that instability in the eye may signal no more intensification. Instead of listening to Rohme’s report and reacting to it, Lemon clearly had his next question at hand — and his agenda at the ready (via The Daily Wire):


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Can you tell us what this is and what effect the climate change has on this phenomenon?

JAMIE ROHME, NOAA DIRECTOR: Well, we can come back and talk about climate change at a later time. I want to focus on the here-and-now. We think the rapid intensification is probably almost done, there could be a little bit more intensification as it still is over the warm waters of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but I don’t think we’re gonna get any more rapid intensification. If you look here, you can actually see, pretty interesting for your viewers, you can actually see a second eyewall forming around the inner eyewall, and that’s basically the second eyewall has overtaken the original eyewall and that should arrest development.
At this point, a reporter/journalist would probably have followed up on that by asking what other effects that phenomenon might produce. Could it change the direction of the hurricane, could it weaken the winds, might it force the hurricane to dissipate more rapidly than initially projected? People in Florida may have wanted to know the answers to those and other specific questions about what Rohme correctly noted as “pretty interesting for your viewers.” At the very least, a reporter — or even someone paying the least bit of attention — would have picked up on Rohme’s clear signal not to get into climate change around this one hurricane.

Lemon’s not a reporter or a journalist, or even someone who pays attention. Nor is he interested in what might be interesting for his viewers. Lemon’s an activist, and so he ignored Rohme’s point about the hurricane no longer intensifying to, er, demand an answer on what was making it intensify:

LEMON: So listen, I just, I’m just trying to get the, you said you want to talk about climate change. But what effect does climate change to have on this phenomenon that is happening now? Because it seems these storms are intensifying. That’s the question.

ROHME: I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event. On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse, but to link it to any one event, I would caution against that.

LEMON: Okay, well, listen, I grew up there and these storms are intensifying. Something is causing them to intensify.
Ahem. Hurricanes have lashed Florida since long before Lemon “grew up there.” Hurricanes “intensified” long before then, too. Put aside the fact that all hurricanes “intensify” as part of their development from tropical storms. We have had far more intense hurricanes make landfall in the US than Ian going back as far as records allow.  Ironically, Lemon’s pressing this point in a hurricane season that has been blessedly mild overall, at least so far. A month ago, reported that the 2022 hurricane season (which started June 1) was off to its “least active start in 30 years”:

While the number of storms isn’t pacing far below the season-to-date average, Colorado State University tropical scientist Phil Klotzbach pointed out it was the first time in 40 years that no named storms formed from July 3 – August 22 in the Atlantic Basin.

Another metric meteorologists use to gauge a season’s activity has also flatlined.

As of Aug. 20, the 2022 hurricane season’s ACE index is pacing the lowest of any year since 1992, according to Kim Wood, associate professor at Mississippi State University.

Short for Accumulated Cyclone Energy, the ACE index sums up how long storms last and how intense they become, instead of just raw counts of storms. Each of the Atlantic Basin’s three storms was relatively weak and short-lived, though Bonnie went on to become a hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Basin.
A slow start doesn’t disprove “climate change,” but neither does one Category 4 hurricane making landfall prove it or “intensification” either. That’s likely why Rohme tried changing the subject back to Hurricane Ian first and then flat-out rebuking Lemon later. Rather than pay attention and report, Lemon instead chose to stick to his agenda — as ignorant as it was. In CNN terms, Rohme wanted to talk about an apple, but Lemon just went bananas.

And this is the “journalist” that Chris Licht wants to use to set the tone for CNN’s news coverage in the mornings. That too is bananas.