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New Paper Claims Hurricanes in the United States Increasing, Data Proves Opposite

Written by Albert Parker

In that alternative reality known as ‘Climate Science’ yet another junk paper gets past peer review. This time edited by Anny Cazenave and quickly getting itself published in the PNAS journal.

Titled “Hurricane Sandy’s flood frequency increasing from year 1800 to 2100,” [1] it opens:

A study estimates the frequency of future Hurricane Sandy-like floods in New York City. The storm surge due to Hurricane Sandy caused flooding nearly 3 m above high tide in New York City in October 2012. The frequency at which such flooding occurs varies with changes in sea level and storm surge climatology, and estimating changes in this frequency over time could be valuable for risk mitigation. Ning Lin and colleagues examined how the frequency of Sandy-level floods in New York City has changed from 1800 to the present, and estimated the frequency of future floods. The authors estimated past sea levels from historical data and future sea levels from probabilistic projections under moderate greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the authors used reanalysis data and global climate models to estimate the current and future frequency and severity of storms.

The authors estimated that the frequency of Sandy-level floods has approximately tripled since 1800, from once every 1,200 years to once every 400 years, and is likely to increase to once every 90 years by the year 2100 due to the effects of sea level rise alone. When future changes in storm climatology were taken into account, the estimated frequency in 2100 varied from once in 23 years to once in 130 years, depending on the particular climate model used, according to the authors.”

Most interesting is the part highlighted in bold. The authors examined what they say is in the data since 1800 – i.e. a time window of 215 years. Then, from these 215 years of data, they concluded that the frequency of Sandy-level floods has tripled from once every 1,200 years to once every 400 years! Such a claim is scientifically nonsensical. With only 215 years of data it is farcical to claim that the frequency has tripled from once every 1,200 years to once every 400 years.

If you recorded one occurrence of Sandy-like floods, for example ‘Sandy,’ at the most you can claim that you had a frequency of once every 215 years. If you had more, then you will have increased frequencies. The discovery (or the colonization) of the Americas by the Europeans only happened in 1492 and New York started by the Dutch as a trading post in Lower Manhattan in 1624 and it was called New Amsterdam in 1626. To say that New York City experienced Hurricane Sandy’s floods of increasing frequency from once every 1,200 years to once every 400 years looking at data from 1800 to the present is not solid science at all.

Moreover, the paper is a confusion about whether there is an increase in hurricanes, or increase in floods, or increase in storm surges, all without any proper empirical evidence to support any claim. All this manipulation seemingly to concoct an alarmist statement in a discredited narrative that hurricane floods are on the rise because of global warming. There are actual data to consider to infer proper trends. But these data are very far from what you would expect to make the narrative true. What can be said about hurricanes, even if this is not politically correct, is that they are decreasing in frequency rather than increasing, as is shown below. Regarding sea level rise, nanometer per year squared plus, or nanometer per year squared minus of acceleration, the rates of rise are fairly stable, everything but dramatic, and still waiting the first sign the narrative will came true.

There is a nice web site that lists all the Hurricanes that occurred in the Continental United States since 1851. These are the Hurricanes officially recorded to have produced sustained winds of speed greater than 74 mph.

  • Continental United States Hurricane Impacts/Landfalls 1851-2015

http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/All_U.S._Hurricanes.html

One would expect based on the narrative that the number of hurricanes is on the rise. Rather, it is the opposite. Across the Continental United States, the frequency of hurricanes is reducing at a rate of -0.256%.

In Fig. 1, it is shown the number of Hurricanes that impacted the Continental United States every decade since 1850 and two hypotheses, +0.515% growth or -0.256% reduction, both tested (if the frequency of the hurricanes has tripled over 215 years, this means that the annual growth rate has been +0.515%). Not difficult to choose the right one.

fig-1

Fig.1 – Hurricanes per decade across the continental United States.

Regarding sea level rise, the only other parameter actually measured, sea levels are rising in the United States as everywhere else but not dramatically and without any significant acceleration component, and mostly driven by the subsidence of the instrument. In Fig. 2, shown are the mean sea levels measured in The Battery since 1858 from

The rate of rise is +2.84 mm/year and about constant. Over the last 100 years, the 50 years sea level rises have been mostly oscillating about the same trend. Over the last decade there have been changes in the sea level rate of rise of the order of + tens of micrometers per year to reflect only a positive phase of the multi-decadal oscillations (In San Francisco, Fig. 3 from

the changes in the sea level rate of rise of the order of – tens of micrometers per year to reflect only a negative phase of the same multi-decadal oscillations only phased differently).

fig-2

ny-battery

Fig. 2 – New York sea levels

fig-3

fig-3a

fig-3b

Fig. 3 – San Francisco sea levels

In conclusion, there is no empirical data collected over the period 1800 to 2015 to support the claim that the frequency of Sandy-level floods has approximately tripled since 1800, from once every 1,200 years to once every 400 years, and is likely to increase to once every 90 years by the year 2100 due to the effects of sea level rise alone.

In reality, sea levels are rising slowly and without any global acceleration component in the United States as well as at the worldwide average tide gauge, while the frequency of hurricanes is strongly reducing across the continental United States. These are the facts.

The rise of sea levels is unlikely to offset the strongly reducing trend of hurricane frequency to produce more Sandy-like hurricane-caused floods in New York City with the sharply increasing frequency that is claimed, but not demonstrated in the paper.

The PNAS highlights below:

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Frequency of Hurricane Sandy-like floods

Flooding on FDR Drive in Lower Manhattan following Hurricane Sandy. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Beth Carey.

Flooding on FDR Drive in Lower Manhattan following Hurricane Sandy. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Beth Carey.

The storm surge due to Hurricane Sandy caused flooding nearly 3 m above high tide in New York City in October 2012. The frequency at which such flooding occurs varies with changes in sea level and storm surge climatology, and estimating changes in this frequency over time could be valuable for risk mitigation. Ning Lin et al. investigated how the frequency of Sandy-level floods in New York City has changed from 1800 to the present, and estimated the frequency of future floods. The authors estimated past sea levels from historical data and future sea levels from probabilistic projections under moderate greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the authors used reanalysis data and global climate models to estimate the current and future frequency and severity of storms. The authors estimated that the frequency of Sandy-level floods has approximately tripled since 1800, from once every 1,200 years to once every 400 years, and will increase to once every 90 years by the year 2100 due to the effects of sea level rise alone. When future changes in storm climatology were taken into account, the estimated frequency in 2100 varied from once in 23 years to once in 130 years, depending on the particular climate model used, according to the authors. — B.D.

“Hurricane Sandy’s flood frequency increasing from year 1800 to 2100,” by Ning Lin, Robert E. Kopp, Benjamin P. Horton, and Jeffrey P. Donnelly
[Abstract] OPEN ACCESS ARTICLE

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[1] “Hurricane Sandy’s flood frequency increasing from year 1800 to 2100,” by Ning Lina, Robert E. Kopp, Benjamin P. Horton, and Jeffrey P. Donnelly; 10.1073/pnas.1604386113

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/43/12071.full