September 23rd 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Labor's vision for a transgender world

EDITORIAL Liddell closure: acid test for Turnbull

EUTHANASIA We risk turning our doctors into death dealers

DOCUMENTARY Harvested Alive: killing Falung Gong in China

AGENDA FOR AUSTRALIA Distorted jobless stats defeat planning efforts

ENVIRONMENT Hurricane Harvey: don't let a good disaster go to waste

AFL GRAND FINAL Bob Santamaria predicted the sunset of Aussie Rules

HISTORY After 500 years, is sugar going sour?

IDEOLOGY OF TRANSGENDERISM Reshaping our identities and relationships

MUSIC The Sequence: it's elementary

CINEMA The Hitman's Bodyguard: 'Eighties' action with popcorn

BOOK REVIEW One of globalisation's dwindling band




SAME-SEX MARRIAGE For bullying, look left, look left, and then look left again

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Hurricane Harvey: don't let a good disaster go to waste

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, September 23, 2017

Following the destructive flooding in Houston, Texas, caused by Hurricane Harvey, climate alarmists claimed that the hurricane was a consequence of human-induced “climate change”.

The fact that hurricanes, common throughout history in the Gulf of Mexico, have been less frequent in recent years was completely ignored.

Yet if the earth’s temperature were rising at an accelerated rate, as they allege, the incidence of hurricanes should be more frequent, not less.

A simple Google search shows that there has been no significant increase in Atlantic hurricanes which run into the Gulf of Mexico over the past 90 years, and earlier, there were not sufficiently accurate means of counting them. (See Number of tropical storms and hurricanes per season, from

That, however, did not stop the usual suspects from going troppo over the hurricane.

BBC News’ environment correspondent was quick to pen an article, “Hurricane Harvey: The link to climate change”. In it, he attributed the hurricane to rising air temperatures, high temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, and changing air circulation caused by human activity.

He then went on to speculate that legal action may be taken against countries that don’t contribute to the global effort to cut emissions; in other words, go along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Economist magazine, which has lost any credibility in the area, chimed in with a pseudo-scientific piece headed, “Extreme weather: Le déluge”, a clever play on King Louis XV’s remark some years before the French Revolution.

The Economist declared: “The number of natural disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled since 1970 to around 400 a year. There are six times more hydrological events, such as those in Texas or South Asia, now than in 1980.” To back up this claim, it cites dodgy data from an insurance company selling climate insurance!

(As “natural disasters” include earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, the figure quoted is meaningless.)

‘It’s a fact’

And Michael Mann, author of the discredited climate change “hockey stick” and contributor to the Climategate emails, wrote an article for The Guardian headlined, “It’s a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly”. (August 29, 2017)

A corrective to this tidal wave of propaganda came from one of America’s leading meteorologists, Dr Roy Spencer, who, unlike the critics, has a PhD in meteorology, and whose doctoral thesis involved the study of tropical hurricanes.

(Dr Spencer is also the co-publisher of the monthly data series of terrestrial temperatures which rebut the claim that the earth’s temperature is rising at an accelerating rate.)

Looking at Hurricane Harvey, Dr Spencer asked the question whether it was caused by climate change, and two subsidiary questions: Are Texas’ major hurricanes dependent on an unusually warm Gulf? and does global warming cause landfalling hurricanes to stall?

On the first, he examined all of the major hurricane (category 3+) strikes in Texas since 1870 and plotted them as red dots on the time series of sea surface temperature variations over the western Gulf of Mexico. He found that major hurricanes don’t really care whether the Gulf is above average or below average temperature:

Dr Spencer added that the Gulf of Mexico is warm enough every summer to produce a major hurricane, but you also usually need a pre-existing cyclonic circulation or wave, which almost always can be traced back to the coast of Africa.

He said the reasons why some systems intensify and others don’t are not well understood.

“This is why the National Hurricane Center admits their predictions of intensity change are not that accurate,” he said. “Lots of thunderstorm complexes form over warm tropical waters, and we still don’t understand why some of them will spontaneously form a cyclonic circulation.”

On the second question, he said: “I don’t know of any portion of global warming theory that would explain why Harvey stalled over south-east Texas.”

Referring specifically to Michael Mann’s comments that the flooding was caused by a high pressure system over the United States which pushed the jetstream further north, Dr Spencer said Mann’s comment “makes me think he doesn’t actually follow weather like those of us who have actual schooling in meteorology (my degree is a PhD in Meteorology). We didn’t have a warm August in the U.S. pushing the jet stream farther north.”

Dr Spencer, who is far more careful in what he says than the climate alarmists, said that contrary to widespread claims, the flooding in Houston was not unprecedented. In fact, a flood in 1935 was more extreme.

“The flooding disaster in Houston is the chance occurrence of several factors which can be explained naturally, without having to invoke human-caused climate change,” he said.

“We already know that major landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. have been less frequent in recent decades. But once one forms, if it stalls near the coast (a rarity), it can be expected to cause a flooding disaster … especially in a flood-prone area like Houston.”

All you need to know about
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