Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kerry Emanuel Has Second Thoughts -- Again

As noted in the April 11 update below, Kerry Emanuel's attempt to devise a computer model and examine the possible effect of global warming on hurricanes could be bad news for global warming alarmists -- or not, if this article accurately portrays Emanuel's second second thoughts.

Will the real Emanuel please stand up and say what he thinks?

At first it was:

The hurricane expert, Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unveiled a novel technique for predicting future hurricane activity this week. The new work suggests that, even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries.

The research, appearing in the March issue of Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, is all the more remarkable coming from Emanuel, a highly visible leader in his field and long an ardent proponent of a link between global warming and much stronger hurricanes.

His changing views could influence other scientists.

"The results surprised me," Emanuel said of his work, adding that global warming may still play a role in raising the intensity of hurricanes. What that role is, however, remains far from certain.

But now it's:

"It strongly confirms, independently, the results in the Nature paper," Emanuel said. "This is a completely independent analysis and comes up with very consistent results."

Worldwide, both methods show an increase in the intensity and duration of tropical cyclones, the generic name for what are known as hurricanes in the North Atlantic. But the new work shows no clear change in the overall numbers of such storms when run on future climates predicted using global climate models.

However, Emanuel says, the new work also raises some questions that remain to be understood. When projected into the future, the model shows a continuing increase in power, "but a lot less than the factor of two that we've already seen" he says. "So we have a paradox that remains to be explained."

The paper published in "Nature" appeared just before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so it got a lot of media attention with its claim that global warming would increase hurricane frequency and intensity. Now, it appears that Emanuel is saying that the hypothesis published in 2005 is strongly confirmed -- but only a couple of weeks ago he was surprised to see that it wasn't confirmed by his new computer model.

Maybe Emanuel wanted to tamp down any skepticism about the possible link between global warming and hurricanes, since this is how the latest article ends:

In the many different computer runs with different models and different conditions, "the fact is, the results are all over the place," Emanuel says. But that doesn't mean that one can't learn from them. And there is one conclusion that's clearly not consistent with these results, he said: "The idea that there is no connection between hurricanes and global warming, that's not supported," he says.

Guess which version of Emanuel's beliefs will get the most attention in the news media.


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