Global Warming only Expected to Bring About Small Changes
by Miguel Llanos, MSNBC, April 28, 1999
While strong evidence exists to suggest that some types of severe weather are influenced by global warming, that cannot be said of hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones or typhoons. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not try to stretch the evidence when it concluded: "Knowledge is currently insufficient to say whether there will be any changes in the occurrence or geographical distribution" of hurricanes. Three senior members of the IPCC wrote in a Scientific American article last May that earlier suggestions that greenhouse gases might influence hurricanes were "overly simplistic." Historical data and computer models, they argued, are limited because of the complexity of hurricane formation.
And William Gray, a Colorado State University scientist and one of the foremost hurricane experts, doesn't think global warming has anything to do with it. "It sure as hell ain't global warming," he has said. "What we have to worry about is natural climate change. Beware of natural climate change. Nature still does more to affect our weather than humankind." His team's June 1997 forecast explained it this way: Global warming "is a very slow and gradual process that, at best, would only be expected to bring about small changes in global circulation over periods of 50 to 100 years." In fact, the team goes on, "Intense Atlantic category 3-4-5 hurricane activity experienced a substantial decrease over the period of 1970-1994," a time when global surface temperatures rose.