CNN: Hurricane Prediction Upswing Not Because of Global Warming
âAmerican Morningâ featured all manner of climate calamity.
The May 23 edition of CNNâs morning show included a segment about the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centerâs assessment of the upcoming hurricane season. NOAA is predicting the Atlantic hurricane season will be âabove normal.â
Itâs not unusual for the media to intermingle the global warming debate with tropical activity. On the year anniversary of Hurricane Katrinaâs landfall last August, Hannah Storm on CBS's âThe Early Showâ interviewed âThe Ravaging Tideâ author Mike Tidwell. Tidwell warned weâll see more catastrophic hurricanes due to global warming.
But CNN Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers said natural cycles were to blame for the latest above-normal hurricane forecast.
âThe numbers are still high still,â said Myers, referring to the NOAA prediction. âThe numbers are not high because of global warming, they donât think. The numbers are still high because of this multi-decadal cycle.â
The NOAA report states âwarmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, and the El NiĂ±o/La NiĂ±a cycleâ are responsible for the increased forecast. On May 22, NOAA issued a forecast of 13 to 17 named storms, 7 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 and 5).
Ironically, the âAmerican Morningâ segment on hurricane predictions was immediately followed up with the speculation of an Al Gore run at the presidency. Gore, who is not a scientist but insists that man-made global warming is a cause of increased tropical weather activity, appeared on CNNâs âLarry King Liveâ the previous night. Gore admitted he had not closed the door completely on a presidential bid, but he was focused on another effort.
âI have been focused on a different kind of campaign â to persuade the people in this country and around the world we have to respond to the climate crisis,â said Gore. âItâs by far the most dangerous crisis our civilization has faced.â
Later in the morning show, Chetry appeared to invite climatic destruction. CNN Miami correspondent John Zarrella reported on the drought situation facing the Florida Everglades and the potentially hazardous repercussions facing the Florida ecosystem and economy. At the end of the segment, Chetry had devised her own solution to the pending crisis:
Zarrella (from Plantation, Fla.): âNow, South Florida Water Management scientists are telling is it is going to take an abnormally high rainy season. Weâre going to need about three feet of water to break out of this drought. Kiran.â
Chetry: âAll right, maybe a couple of Category 1 hurricanes could do it.â
Of course, Category 1 hurricanes do more than drop a little rain. According to NOAA, Category 1 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale have winds of 74 to 95 mph and include storm surges generally four to five feet above normal. Damage is âprimarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and treesâ and may also cause some coastal road flooding.
One such example of a Category 1 hurricane was Hurricane Gaston, which struck the South Carolina coast in 2004. According to the National Hurricane Center, the American Insurance Services Group reported $65 million in insured losses associated with Gaston, with total damages around $130 million.