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AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology

A leading hurricane researcher, Greg Holland, has told the 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology (speakers list here) that the 2005 hurricane season is directly linked to global warming. Unfortunately, the abstract to the talk makes no reference to this conclusion and there is no extended abstract, as it sadly common at scientific conferences.

I'm looking forward to further reports from this conference, particularly commentary on William Gray's talk. He has argued that global warming is not the result of anthropogenic sources, rather it results naturally from deep-water cirulation issues that are not adequately modelled in the global circulation models. I am not a climatologist and I'm interested to read about what others in the field think about his work. I have read the abstract (pdf) to his talk and his logic seems to my untutored mind valid, though he offers only a hand-waving model to replace the circulation models he doesn't like.

[Whether or not this is related I leave for you to decide. I'm just saying... ]

I've read William Grey's abstract, and it seems to be heavy on postulation and low on data. He is correct when he says that global temperature is influenced by the deep-water circulation, and that a slowdown of the THC conveyor will result in higher atmospheric temperatures, but he doesn't actually demonstrate that the THC did slow down appreciably prior to this global temperature increase. He claims that we are now 11 years into an enhancement of the THC (which means that global atmospheric temperature should begin to decrease in 5-10 years, absent any other influences) and he tells of historical THC trends, but there's no data presented in the abstract, nor citations to other references describing these changes to the THC.

He is absolutely correct when he states that global climate models (GCMs) which ignore the effects of the THC are probably not completely accurate. I would ask him to present his data sources which show changes in the THC. I also wonder how many GCMs actually do omit this variable, as it's been a pretty well-known phenomena for as long as I've been studying geology. I wouldn't be surprised if early GCMs omitted the THC, for simplicity (early models simplified many atmospheric effects, and sometimes had cells that were too large to be considered reliable). I would be surprised if the models used nowadays omit the THC, use large cells, or omit other key atmospheric variables, though, given increased computing power since the 1980's.

Quoting Senator James Inhofe and Larry Nation at the beginning and end of the abstract is very strange. You don't usually see quotes like that in abstract submissions for serious conferences. I'm just sayin'.

I'd also add this: In the 80's-90's, there were groups of scientists who seriously doubted that the global temperature was rising (despite the clear retreat of Alpine glaciers globally, BTW). Satellite measurements which prove otherwise has moved many of them to different positions. Some now accept that there is an anthropogenic effect on the global climate, and that something should be done to halt the effect. Some accept the theory of global warming, and say "So what? The Earth's climate changes all the time. Just look at the geologic record. Suck it up, Tuvalu!". And some look for ways to explain the changes which minimizes the effect of human activity.

I won't believe that his physical model holds water until I see a mathematical model that accurately replicates real conditions.

You're right about the quotes - very strange. Almost messianic.

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