Google “Hurricane Irene” and ”global warming,” and you’ll find 23,000 sites where these two topics are both discussed.
The Huffington Post served up the standard alarmist narrative. Reporter Lynne Peeples quotes NRDC senior scientist Kim Knowlton, who told her: ”No one is going to point to Irene and say this is climate change. But we can say that we are seeing the fingerprint of climate change this year.” Huh? Peeples interprets for us:
Knowlton was of course referring to the growing list of extreme weather events that have ravaged the U.S. in 2011 — from tornadoes and flooding, to droughts and heat waves. And now millions of Americans, many of whom have never seen a real tropical storm in their lifetime, are facing a major hurricane.
Note the clever juxtaposition of Knowlton’s two statements. Although the NRDC scientist does not openly — and unscientifically — attribute a particular weather event to global climate change, she encourages readers to do just that.
Hurricanes in New York are certainly not as common as hurricanes in Florida or Louisiana, but if Irene is evidence of global warming, then global warming has menaced the Empire State for centuries, because hurricanes have hit New York since before the industrial revolution.
Wikipedia has a List of New York Hurricanes going back to the 17th century. The strongest was the New England Hurricane of 1938, a category 3 storm that killed upwards of 600 people. A photo of the storm surge from that hurricane appears above.
As I read the Wiki list, the following number of hurricanes have affected New York: 6 before 1800; 23 from 1800 to 1899; 11 from 1900 to 1949; 15 from 1950 to 1974; 21 from 1975 to 1999; and 18 from 2000 to the present (including Irene). Each storm in the Wiki list is footnoted, usually with a link to the source referenced.
Lest anyone see a “fingerprint of climate change” in the larger number of hurricanes since 1975, 16 were “remants” of tropical storms. In contrast, only one “remnant” is identified for 1950-1974 and none is identified for 1900-1949. No doubt New York experienced many hurricane remnants that were not identified as such before the advent of weather satellites and hurricane hunter aircraft.