Political and scientific circles are still reeling from Katrinas impact as left-wing climate change advocates try to link the hurricane with global warming.
A new study, published in the journal Science, made the connection even though many other climatologists disagree. The September 18 NBC Nightly News was the latest media outlet to cover it. Anchor John Seigenthaler gave the impression of opening a balanced report with the comment hurricanes and global warming, is there a connection?
However, Chief Science Correspondent Robert Bazell made it clear that he agreed with the controversial study. He said that scientists say one storm cannot prove anything about climate change. However, Bazell followed that quickly with a but, emphasizing the studys conclusion about a worrisome trend.
That trend claimed an increase in severe storms in the last 20 years compared with the 20 years before that period. Bazell took it at face value and didnt even include an opposing view. Such views were easy to find. The Washington Post first found Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to Bell, the hurricane trend is cyclical. Its not linked to global warming or anything like that, Bell said. This is normal climate variability. Its just that this trend lasts for decades.
Bazell reinforced the points of the study by scaring viewers with the sobering question about what happens if the temperature rise in the oceans grows to several degrees. A big question is how much is the warming of the ocean and the increased risk for killer storms caused by human activity? he said.
The killer storm theory was completely discounted by Florida State University meteorology and oceanography professor James OBrien. The Post said his survey of government data of Atlantic storms between 1850 and 2005 shows that theres no indication of an increase in intensity.