It had to be coming.
No one storm says anything about climate change; but nevertheless, climate change may affect weather in the aggregate. ... bearing in mind the scientific expectation that global warming ought to intensify the average hurricane (by how much remains hotly disputed). How does Dean fit into that ongoing scientific argument? Well, first of all, Dean now takes its rank among the top ten most intense Atlantic hurricanes. If you look at that list you’ll see that six of the strongest (Wilma, Rita, Katrina, Mitch, Dean, and Ivan) have been in the past ten years. That’s not the kind of statistic that’s easy to overlook. According to these data we are getting stronger storms in the Atlantic basin now than we ever have before.
Bullshit. Complete intellectually dishonest bullshit.
The truth is we only have complete data on intensity from the late 1960's. For example, look at the data for 1960. Of the seven tropical storms that season only three have recorded pressure readings, and one of those seems suspect to me. (Category 5 hurricane Ethel only had a pressure of 981mb?)
Or check out 1950, where only three of 13 storms have pressure readings. This includes no pressure reading on the massive category 5 storm Dog.
How do we know this wasn't one of the strongest storms ever? We don't. Our data isn't good enough.
Unfortunately, this type of unscientific demagoguery is par for the course with the GW hysteria crowd.
Measuring systems weren't as good in earlier eras, you see -- a fact that makes our records somewhat impeachable. A "record" is only what's recorded, after all. And so skeptics will inevitably quibble with our imperfect data and challenge it. There might well have been a storm much stronger than Dean 200 years ago -- we just don't know.
Nevertheless, if you look at the data we have, Dean fits into a very troubling pattern and context.
No it doesn't, because without the data you cannot make any such generalization, unless you only want to make a claim about the last couple of decades, in which case you should insert the needed caveats. Scientifically speaking it is not optional. (Science is a bitch that way.) You cannot claim a pattern because, for example, you do not know if the storms during the 1920's or 1930's were stronger than we have seen the last 20 years.
If science is anything it is a question of methods. You cannot throw out the rules for data collection and sample size because it suits your ideological needs.
What happens when you don't attempt to find behind the fact that we do not have pressure readings for earlier storms and just look at storms by their Cat rating in the best track storm data?
Category 5 Hurricanes:
So it is 12 vs. 14. Do you know what we call that? It is called "not a pattern."
It is also duplicitous to claim anything special about the last few years (because of the problems with sample size etc.). For example during the last 15 years (1993-2007) we have had eight Cat 5 storms. That is a lot. We are also told it is unprecedented.
It isn't. From 1955-1969 we had (hold onto your hats) eight Cat 5 storms.
How can that be?