Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Inhofe aide crashes seminar on global warming and hurricanes

Interesting to read this morning that an aide to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) crashed a seminar yesterday on the link between global warming and hurricanes. The seminar was sponsored by that radical group -- the American Meteorological Society! -- and featured reputable scientists who concluded that global warming was indeed fueling hurricanes.

Inhofe committee aide John Shanahan (who in an earlier life worked for the coal-mining lobby) crashed the event. See account, below, from Pulitzer Prize winner Jeff Nesmith that appears today in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Inhofe's attempt to deny global warming appear to grow more desperate by the moment.


Lawmaker hurricane talks turn turbulent
By Jeff NesmithCox News Service
WASHINGTON - A congressional briefing on global warming and hurricanes by scientists from Georgia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came to a stormy end Tuesday when a Senate staff member charged that their presentation was "one-sided."
"You people are espousing minority views that a vast majority of scientists dispute," John Shanahan, an aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told scientists Judith Curry of Georgia Tech and Kerry Emanuel of MIT.
He then accused the American Meterological Society, which sponsored the briefing, of rigging it to exclude climate-change skeptics.
Emanuel and Curry recently published separate studies linking a one-degree increase in the overall temperature of the oceans to the increasing intensity of major hurricanes such as Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
The studies touched off a spirited debate among climatologists and some meteorologists.
Curry acknowledged during a questions period at the briefing that some meteorologists, who forecast and track individual hurricanes rather than study long-term climate trends, dispute the studies.
"I honestly can't understand why that community [of meteorologists] is resisting these findings so much," she said.
She said meteorologists are skillful at projecting the paths hurricanes will take but know less about conditions that cause them to become intense, noting that when Wilma was a tropical storm, the U.S. Weather Service had forecast it would be a Category 3 storm in a few days.
"The next morning it was the most powerful storm on record," she said.
At that point, Shanahan, a former National Mining Association official who is counsel to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said "outstanding" scientists who dispute prevailing views about global warming were excluded from the briefing.
A spokesman for the American Meteorological Society said the meeting was one of a series and some of the researchers Shanahan referred to had been invited to future sessions.
Curry and Georgia Tech climatologist Peter Webster published an article in the journal Science last month, showing that although the frequency of hurricanes has not increased with global warming, the frequency of big storms has.
They said the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has averaged 18 per year since 1990.
In the 1970s, there were about 10 of the major storms annually, they said.
And Emanuel found the total destructiveness of hurricanes has grown with the 1 degree increase in ocean temperature, a characteristic he based on wind speed and storm duration. His report was published in the journal Nature in August.
However, some scientists have disputed the findings, saying the researchers used biased data and failed to account for differences in ocean temperature in different regions of the globe.


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