07 August 2007

Hurricane debate continues

In following on from my post of 31 July, More hurricanes, anyone?, on the recently published Holland/Webster paper on Atlantic TC trends, I point you towards this item on Roger Pielke Sr's Climate Science blog.

The post takes a closer look at the data issues involved in creating the long time series record used to estimate the trends. The basic conclusion?

Landsea was absolutely correct about the sloppiness, which is inexcusable. The jury is still out on trends, though uncertainty seems sure to persist for a while, despite the loud and aggressive claims to the contrary.
My take is still that both sides are correct to some degree. The upswing in storms in recent times is real and not too negatively influenced by data problems. The data in the earlier era undoubtedly underestimates the number of storms. This post points out several shortcoming in the Holland/Webster analysis methodology, increasing the uncertainty of the magnitude of any trend that may exist. The number of storms likely hasn't doubled in 100 years, but some trend is still likely there.

I suppose we will have to wait another 10-20 years before we truly know the magnitude of any trend and whether anthropogenic climate change is influencing hurricane numbers...

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