August 1st, 2007

Debunking the Skeptics — Re: Hurricanes

On today's installment of Fresh Air, on National Public Radio, the climatologist Kerry Emanuel, professor at MIT's Deparment of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, gave a very succinct explanation of how it is that human-induced atmospheric changes are indeed responsible for the major upswing in the power of hurricanes. Listen from this page:

Certain climate change skeptics, most notably one climatologist from Colorado, whom Fox Noise is very fond of putting on the air as often as possible, have argued that the recent upswing in hurricanes is due to a natural cycle. As it turns out, there is no such cycle, and the downturn in hurricane intensiity that occurred during most of the second half of the 20th century was caused primarily by the very same human-caused global dimming from particulate pollution which is described in detail in the incredible NOVA installment "Dimming the Sun" aired in April, 2006 and available on DVD from WGBH.

This is vital information in the climate debate, or what's left of it, because it also runs counter to the arguments of those who believe in the theory of the Danish scientist who believes that because the record of planetary average temperatures matches the record of sunspot activity level more closely (according to some sources) than it matches the concentration of CO2, that humans are essentially off the hook. The observations which Kerry Emanuel refers to, explain very well what has been observed with respect to hurricane formation and touches on the key points of this critical element of the collective wisdom of the climatologists.