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November 10, 2012

Stupid on Sandy

(Continued)

University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke notes that a Category 3 hurricane hasn't made landfall in the U.S. since 2005, the longest spell without one in more than a hundred years.

"While it's hardly mentioned in the media," he writes, "the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane 'drought.'"

On the other hand, there were fearsome hurricanes long before anyone dreamed up, let alone manufactured, an SUV. In 1938, the so-called Long Island Express devastated Long Island and New England. An old newsreel film describing it sounds like a report on Sandy. A high-pressure system kept it from blowing out to sea. It hit densely populated areas. It brought a huge storm surge. The Category 3 storm killed hundreds of people.

In 1821, another storm flooded New York City all the way up to Canal Street. If Bloomberg Businessweek had existed 190 years ago, it might have reported on the damage and warned: "This is our future if we develop modern industry and transportation and make them both dependent on fossil fuels, idiots."

The theory for global warming giving us more intense hurricanes is that warmer oceans will feed more energy into them. But the weather is complicated. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - not a bastion of climate-change "deniers" - has said, "There is low confidence in any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (i.e., intensity, frequency, duration)."

The alarmists want us to crack down on fossil fuels and crimp our growth right now based on the bet that adjusting the climate to our liking in 100 years or so is within our power, and that when we endeavor to do it, China and India will feel moved to do the same. People who believe this shouldn't throw around the word "stupid" so lightly.

(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate

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