Thongchai Thailand

Tropical Cyclones & Climate Change

Posted on: August 1, 2019





  1. Climate change science has proposed a change in the energy infrastructure of the world away from fossil fuels because it has identified fossil fuel emissions as a cause of global warming since the Little Ice Age [LINK to Little Ice Age Post] . The undesirability of global warming and climate change has been described in terms of its proposed impacts that include sea level rise, floods, droughts, and extreme weather. A principal feature of the extreme weather impact of climate change is described in terms of more intense and more destructive tropical cyclones as described in a related post [Climate Change and Hurricanes] . In addition to the North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Basin where tropical cyclones are called Hurricanes, there are five other basins where they form. In the West Pacific Basin they are called Typhoons. In the other four basins (North Indian, South Indian, East Pacific, and South Pacific, they are simply called “tropical cyclones”.
  2. The link between climate change and intensification of tropical cyclones is sea surface temperature (SST). Rising global surface temperature since the LIA in the climate change era, ascribed to fossil fuel emissions, includes an upward trend in SST. In theory, the higher the surface temperature is the more energy there will be in the tropical cyclone, and therefore the greater the potential for the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of the tropical cyclone. Climate models indicate a causal link from fossil fuel emissions to sea surface temperature and thence to stronger, wetter, longer lasting, more intense, and more destructive hurricanes.
  3. EMPIRICAL WORK #1: Empirical evidence for the proposition that climate change increases the destructiveness of hurricanes is presented in a baseline paper by MIT climate scientist Kerry Emmanuel. The summary of this paper and its critical review is presented in a related post [LINK] . The critical review of the Emmanuel paper reveals serious statistical weaknesses in the methodology and analysis. These weaknesses make it impossible to accept its premise that climate change increases the destructiveness of hurricanes (or that of tropical cyclones in general).
  4. EMPIRICAL WORK #2: The proposed relationship between sea surface temperature and total energy (ACE) of tropical cyclones is tested in a related work posted on this site [LINK] . No evidence is found that the ACE of tropical cyclones is related to SST. This finding challenges a basic assumption about tropical cyclones that allows climate science theory to relate cyclone energy to global warming. The abstract of this work says: The proposed relationship between sea surface temperature (SST) and tropical cyclone activity is tested with data for global mean Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in all six basins and global mean SST in the study period 1945-2013. Three different time scales from annual to decadal are studied. Although some strong correlations are seen in the source time series, no correlation is found in the detrended data. A test with only Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone basins and Northern Hemisphere SST also failed to find the needed correlation. We conclude that no evidence is found in these data to relate the ACE measure of tropical cyclone activity to mean SST.
  5. EMPIRICAL WORK #3:  The climate science proposition that climate change is causing tropical cyclones to become more intense implies that along with the global warming trend we should see a corresponding trend in total global ACE of all tropical cyclones in all basins. This hypothesis is tested in a related post on this site [LINK] . No trend is found that could support a global warming to total global ACE causation. This work is a further refutation of the claimed relationship between climate change and tropical cyclones. Abstract: In this work, the ACE index is used to compare decadal mean tropical cyclone activity worldwide in all six basins among seven decades from 1945 to 2014. Some increase in tropical cyclone activity is found relative to the earliest decades. No trend is found after the decade 1965-1974. A comparison of the six cyclone basins in the study shows that the Western Pacific Basin is the most active basin and the North Indian Basin the least. These findings are best understood in terms of the known under-count bias in the data in the earliest decades; and not in terms of the theory of anthropogenic global warming and climate change.
  6. EMPIRICAL WORK#4: In this post we examine the fall back proposition by climate science that perhaps the impact of climate change is not the intensity or the frequency of tropical cyclones but their geographical distribution where we find that the hypothesis was derived from the data and then tested with the same data. The finding is therefore a creation of circular reasoning and confirmation bias. [LINK]
  7. EMPIRICAL WORK #5:  In a related work, a list of pre-industrial tropical cyclones is presented to demonstrate the existence of intense and destructive tropical cyclones that pre-date the climate change era and that might have been interpreted in terms of climate change if they had occurred in the climate change era. [LINK]


CONCLUSION: No evidence is found in observational data to support the claim by climate science that fossil fuel emissions acting through global warming and climate change have caused tropical cyclones to become more intense and therefore more destructive. A list of pre-industrial tropical cyclones does not show that tropical cyclones were less intense in an era without fossil fuel emissions. The claim by climate science that fossil fuel emissions make tropical cyclones more destructive is likely a part of the anti fossil fuel activism of climate science meant to motivate a move of the global energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels. Activism in climate science is described in a related post [LINK] .

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