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Disaster. Australian cyclone season is quiet! We have to stop that!

Posted By Joanne Nova On February 12, 2015 @ 2:50 am In Global Warming,Media-matters | Comments Disabled

Get ready:

“Australia records its third quietest start to the cyclone season in 50 years.
ABC news, Jack Kerr

Bravo, I thought. ABC covers a good-weather story… but no, lo, for the climate oracles tell us this is ominous and bigger nastier storms are coming. Be afraid!

This weather is weird?

There have only been four occasions since the mid-1960s when cyclones haven’t crossed the mainland before February.

Only four. Golly! This year is almost as “bad”as the worst of the prehistoric era, i.e. ’68, ’80, ’88).

It’s not like the good ol’ days  — when people used to get decent cyclones all the time:

Back in 1870, when Cairns started life as a gold port, four to five severe cyclones would hit the Queensland east coast every decade. By 2010, that average was down to less than two.

Lucky them.

To see the effect of man-made global warming, look hard at this graph below.  Spot the… trend.

A high bar means a long slow quiet start to the cyclone season.

At the start in 1964 CO2 was a wonderful 320ppm. Now it is at 400ppm and obviously (when seen through a computer model) high CO2 levels affect cyclones.

The $1.1 billion ABC were not able to add in the CO2 emissions line, which is central to the predictions in this story. So I helped them. I can’t think why they didn’t…

Obviously, with a correlation that “good”, every story on late cyclone seasons needs to explain how climate change is involved. So  ABC journalist, Jack Kerr finds a professor who can tell us how this is ominous. (The tea-leaves are terrible).

Quietest in 50 years? Try 500 years

These findings as consistent with research by James Cook University’s Professor Jon Nott, who found Queensland is getting fewer cyclones now than at any point in the last 500 years.

It’s a finding made possible by the discovery that rainfall from cyclones has a unique chemical signature.

However, Professor Nott says increased global temperatures mean that when cyclones do hit, they are likely to be more damaging.

“We are going to probably see fewer, but those that do occur will probably be more intense,” he said.

“The zone that cyclones normally start to be generated in is actually moving further south in the southern hemisphere and moving north in the northern hemisphere.

“We have got no doubt now that humans are starting to show their hand in the behaviour of tropical cyclones.”

In the last 500 years (when the world was mostly cooler) there were more cyclones. So even more warming will…   be bad.

Last thought: Farmers in the north need some rain and a few mild cyclones could be handy right now. Credit to the ABC which did at least mention that — though only after the advert for Climate-ChangeTM. We wish the farmers all the best and we hope the ones that come aren’t too big.

h/t Handjive and Don Gaddes

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