Hurricane blows off global warming, according to a report in Science News vol. 171, p358, 9 June 2007.
Since the mid 1990’s there has been an average of four Category-3 or stronger hurricanes in the North Atlantic and Caribbean, and many scientists and environmentalists have blamed this high number of strong hurricanes on global warming. Hurricane formation and strength is influenced by sea surface temperatures and wind shear. Wind shear is a phenomenon where adjacent layers of air move at different speeds or in different directions. Higher sea surface temperatures provide more energy for hurricanes, but strong wind shear tends to break them up.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado have looked at records of hurricanes and sea temperatures going back to 1730, and analysed marine sediments and corals to build up a picture of how temperature and wind shear affect the frequency and strength of hurricanes. Corals and sediments are indicators of wind shear because if wind shear is high there is upwelling of nutrient-rich water in the sea and more thunderstorms on land which increases the amount of organic matter washed into the sea. The nutrients and organic matter affect the growth rate of corals and the numbers of microscopic creatures in the sediments.
Researchers found wind shear seemed to be a stronger influence on the number of strong hurricanes. Some periods of low hurricane activity occurred with sea surface temperatures were higher than normal, but were marked by strong wind shear. They also noted that there were “at least six lengthy intervals since 1730” where hurricane activity was the same as today. Put into the context of the last 180 years, it seems the recent period of intense hurricanes is just a return to average frequency after a low period in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Editorial Comment: This study reminds us of the importance of history. Just as there have been periods with more or fewer strong hurricanes, there have been periods in earth’s history when it has been hotter and colder than what we are currently experiencing. This is exactly what God is recorded as forecasting in Genesis 8:22 when Noah was told that until God brings the earth to an end, there will be alternating periods of heat and cold.
Evidence News 11th July 2007
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