Cheryl Seal
Katrina & Global Warming - The Truth
Sun Sep 25, 2005 16:03

'Natural Hurricane Cycle' - Yet another Bush Machine 'Instant Fact'


By Cheryl Seal

Katrina and Rita are scaring the pants off the Gucci pants off the fossil fuel barons - and it isn't just because they took a sledgehammer to the oil industry's Gulf of Mexico infrastructure. These two storms, coming on the heels of a series of powerful storms in the past few years, are potential posterchildren for global warming. If the public sees Hurricane Season 2005 as a climate change wake-up call, they might start demanding changes - like reduced dependency on fossil fuel, increased accountability by the fossil fuel industry, etc.

So, it is no surprise at all that since Katrina struck, certain "newspeople" (and I use the term with a snicker) have been putting their propaganda wagons in a circle on the topic of climate change. As the current "party line," they have been been pushing the "it's allright, folks, these killer storms are just part of a natural cycle" line. This theory (presented as "fact") is now being promoted by rightwing politicians, Bush-payroll meteorologists, corporate-funded anti-global warming science "experts," and other cling-ons hoping to slurp from the fossil fuel-Bush trough.

According to the natural cycle theory - referred to now in most reports as the "multidecadal cycle," no doubt to make it sound more sophisticated and sciencey - every few decades, we have a period of increased hurricane activity. Therefore, the past two years of killer storms are just part of a cycle and thus "normal." But, like so many things used as excuses for systematic abuse of the environment and taxpayer dollars by the corporazis and their political pals, this is at best barely a half-truth.

Yes, indeed, there are storm frequency/intensity cycles. These cycles, like the El Nino-Southern Oscillation cycle in the Pacific, represent part of Earth's ongoing process of maintaining climatic equilibrium. But when Earth's climatic equilibrium goes TOO far out of whack, the cyclical response will also be extreme.

When one considers only the number of hurricanes in a season, it is easy to argue "natural cycle." But when storm intensity - maximum sustained winds, peak winds, size, diameter , vertical height, and duration are all considered, it becomes clear that the "natural cycle", the picture looks very different. Researchers recently developed a new, more comprehensive system for assessing hurricane intensity - the Power Dissipation Index (PDI). The PDI estimates how much energy is discharged by a single storm and thus its destructive POTENTIAL (i.e., regardless of whether dense coastal development is in its path or not). The PDI shows a dramatic increase in the amplitude in current cycle.

However, the mainstream media is aggressively publicizing the observations of a few selected researchers - meteorologists, not climatologists in most cases - that support the party line. Chief spokespeople all have connections to the Bush adminsitration. For example, mouthpiece Max Mayfield is a top dog at the federally-fundedof NOAA National Hurricane Center, while "hurricane expert" William Gray's department of atmospheric science at Colorado State Universitywhose department received over $1.2 million from NOAA in research grants in 2004. In should be noted, too, that since Bush took office, there has been a massive purge of government-payrolled/funded scientists. While hundreds of researchers whose findings conflict with the Bush agenda have found themselves jobless or demoted, new hires are subjected to questions as to their political and philosophical stances. Anyone at NOAA or any other federal science agency who has actually gotten approval to be quoted by the media is most definitely NOT going to be a "dissenter" from the party line. For more on the science purges, see links below.

Meanwhile, the media has largely ignored or dismissed the growing body of work by dozens, if not scores of climate researchers NOT on the Bush payroll or doing research on the Bush buck. To further support my case for media slant, it should also be pointed out that some researchers who ARE doing research on Bush bucks have also found a connection between global warming and hurricane intensity - yet they, too, are being ignored. You won't hear, for example, the media quoting R. Knutson and Robert E. Tuleya of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. (see link below).

And so the comforting fairy tale of "natural cycle only" is being plastered all over the media, and now stuffs google results when you try to do a search of hurricane intensity and global warming. This is the same tired modus operandi that the media has been using since Bush took office. Remember back when the media pushed only the fairytales about WMDs, Saddam's connection to 9/11, yellow cake uranium from Africa, etc. in the run up to the Iraq war? Remember how the voices of the growing ranks of dissenting experts, veteran diplomats, and intelligence insiders were suppressed and ignored by that same media? How people like Chalabi were made "advisors" while the advice of a page-long list of Nobel prize winners was dismissed? The aim, of course, is to manufacture a "fact" through repetition of a tiny stable of experts - like WMDs in Iraq - that the majority will buy (hey! 68% were sold the "Saddam engineered 9/11" story!). Not once but twice in the past few days, I heard CBS Bushie-newsers (Bob Scheafer, then Charles Osgood) commentating or introducing stories about the "multidecadal cycle" as if this were an established fact, rather than a theory or opinion.

The same thing is happening again, this time re: climate change. Katrina was the fossil fuel industry's worst fear come true - a ghoulish posterchild for global warming. So once again, we have our handful of Bush-connected "experts" and media cohorts telling us what we "need to believe" about global warming. That we need to believe that it may or may not be so, that we have plenty of time and that it won't really hurt us because GE, Ford, the coal industry, et al, are SOMEDAY going to develop alternative energies, vehicles, and schemes to save the day.

If you believe this, then you are probably one of the same folk who believed that Saddam Hussein engineered 9/11, that Ahmed Chalabi is a statesman, and that arsenic in drinking water is good for you.

For Some REAL CLIMATE SCIENCE (the non-Bush-funded variety), see:

"," a site "by working climate scientists for

Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment

More Intense, More Frequent, and Longer Lasting Heat Waves in the 21st Century

Simulated Increase of Hurricane Intensities in a CO2-Warmed Climate
R. Knutson and Robert E. Tuleya

BUSH on Climate Change:
Experts at Global Warming Conference Say Bush's Position is "Ludicrous"


The Bush Purge of Science

SOUND(s like) SCIENCE (But Isn't): Bush's Junk Science
by Cheryl Seal

Silencing Science

The Age of Missing Information

ScienceFricton: The Growing- and dangerous - Divide Between Scientists and the GOP

Main Page - Monday, 9/26/05

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