the statistics of rare events (like hurricanes) are not very well behaved. Let’s look at this new record, and compared it to the 11+year period of no major hurricane strikes that ended when Harvey struck Texas.
[This is a reprint (21 Sep 2017) from Dr. Roy Spencer’s blog (drroyspencer.com) in which he makes the point that two category 4 hurricanes making landfall in the same year is far more likely than the recent eleven year period with no major hurricane landfalls that preceeded the two category 4 hurricanes. Assuming the 177 year return period for no major hurricanes in 9 years estimated by NASA was correct, we agree with Dr. Spencer that the return period for no major hurricanes in 11 years would be 560 years. Ed.]
Weather.com published an article noting that the two Cat 4 hurricane strikes this year (Harvey and Irma) is a new record. Here’s a nice graphic they used showing both storms at landfall.
[Note: This post was submitted by Bob Endlich to the Las Cruces Sun-News as an Op Ed column in response to a weekly column by Algernon D’amassa, this one saying that Hurricane Harvey was made worse by human activities. It was declined by the Sun-News editor, because he was afraid that it would generate too many responses from the alarmist camp. We believe that this is nothing more than “soft censorship” another way to describe censorship, accompanied by a nonsensical explanation. Ed.]
Algernon D’Amassa is wrong by saying Hurricane Harvey was made worse by humans, mentioning sea level rise, warmer seas, and stronger storms.
No data show that Hurricane Harvey was made stronger by the use of fossil fuels; in fact, ready availability of, and use of, fossil fuels made a dangerous storm less so, as explained below, comparing Harvey with Galveston’s 1900 Hurricane.