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At CNN, Cherry-Picking Hurricanes
Michael Walsh • 20 May, 2020 • 2 Min Read
Galveston? Never heard of it.
You know a story is probably 100 percent baloney when its apocalyptic lede -- hailing a "new study," of course -- is written in the passive voice and published by CNN:
It is becoming increasingly evident that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones worldwide are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis, according to a new study. The study, released on Monday by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), looked at nearly 40 years of satellite data of global storms.
Let's unpack this pompous bit of journalistic water-carrying, The words in bold above expose not only the study's biases, but also those of the reporters -- Judson Jones and Brandon Miller, who both appear to still be in knee pants -- blathering on about the "climate crisis" while hedging their bets with the weasel word, "potentially." Further, a study that uses "nearly 40 years of data" to make projections about the future is by definition pure propagandistic bunkum, leaving out (among other things) the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the great Miami hurricane of 1926, the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, and a series of blistering storms in 1955. So a time span of "nearly" forty years is worthless.
The new research builds upon previous studies that showed a likely increase in stronger storms as global oceans had warmed, but the data did not go back far enough to confidently asses the increase was due to man-made global warming and not natural cycles that can span decades. The latest findings add another 11 years to the data set, which allows for statistically significant trends to become clear.
Yeah, right. This is what cherry-picking looks like.
While human-caused warming is likely fueling the increase, there are also natural cycles at play as well, which can increase or decrease storm frequency and intensity varying from basin to basin and from year to year, such as we see with El Niño and La Niña. "Like all aspects of climate, there is an element of natural variability at play," Kossin said. "Our study does not formally disentangle the natural causes from the human-activity causes, and the trends we found are most likely due to a combination of both."
Come back when you're serious, CNN.
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. His latest book, Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, has just been published by St. Martin's Press.