Hurricane Tom Jones

… is actually not unusual.

Everyone is talking about Hurricane Sandy today, which is unsurprising, but as ever, things should be kept in perspective.

As we enter the “new” age of social media, it’s sometimes important to remember that just because we see more news about these sort of things doesn’t actually mean that they are particularly unusual or even that they are occurring more regularly than previously.

And just as one swallow does not a summer make, neither is one hurricane proof for global warming, despite what any CNN weatherman might say.

Because New York has had many, many hurricanes hit it before. For example, Wikipedia has a list of 84 of them, dating back as far as the thirteenth century. And yes, Sandy may turn out to be a record breaker, but then so were many of those previous storms – the “Long Island Express” of 1938 is a particularly good example.

So just because this will probably be the most recorded, most shared, most tweeted hurricane in history, doesn’t mean that climate change is real.
Cherry-picking facts to suit one’s hypotheses has never been a valid method of conducting science and thus, conclusions based on that partial information will near invariably be false. Something you might like to remember when the green brigade trots out their post-Sandy propaganda.

  • Aye. I was saying a similar thing yesterday in response to all the opportunistic “Romney wants to close Fema!” bleating. Whether Fema is the most effective and economically sound way of getting relief to people is an entirely separate issue to whether someone wants them to get aid or not.

    On the topic of hurricane frequency (at least those that reach landfall), the data are interesting. This is out of date, but still gives fairly good reason to expect that the number of hurricanes this decade will be…. pretty much in the same range as every other decade (except for the late 1800’s, which were consistently sucky. Must have been all the aerosol cans).
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml

  • Jacques > Thanks. Interesting link. Weirdly found myself wondering if there was some meteorologist with Münchhausen’s Syndrome documenting that late 1800’s data.
    I think I’d better stop now.

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