We have just seen an example of what has happened all around the world when someone- usually a scientist, dared question the so called “settled science” that humans are responsible for climate change. By now, thousands of honest scientists have lost their jobs, been victimised, and bullied because they have dared to speak out. After Maureen Pugh wanted to see the evidence that humans were causing climate change, she received the same treatment from a range of Parliamentarians who haven’t an ounce of science between them. Then the science illiterate media got in on the act too. Sadly, Maureen, like Gallileo, a long time ago, had to retract.
I predicted this would happen. Cyclone Gabrielle would be used by the climate alarmists to further the cause of anthropogenic climate change.
Let’s look at the formation of a cyclone. Tropical cyclones form over warm ocean waters near the equator. The sea temperature is above 26.5 deg C. Warm moist air over the ocean rises upwards from near the surface. This leaves an absence of air near the surface i.e. a low pressure area. Air from surrounding areas with higher pressures pushes into the low pressure area. This new cooler air then also becomes warm and moist and rises also. So the cycle continues. As the warmed moist air rises it cools and so clouds are formed. The whole system of wind and clouds spins and grows. The mass spins because of the rotation of the earth. The Earth’s rotation means we experience an apparent force known at the Coriolis force. This deflects the direction of the wind to the left in the Southern hemisphere. ( When viewed from the equator).
So standing on the equator looking to the South pole the Coriolis effect deflects the wind to the left.
So instead of air going directly South it is deflected by the Coriolis effect to the left. This causes cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere to rotate clockwise.
(The Equator is the brown line. Cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere rotate anticlockwise)
When the wind speed reaches 119 km/hr we have a tropical cyclone. Some cool air sinks into the low pressure region in the centre of the cyclone causing a relatively calm region- the eye of the cyclone. Cyclone paths tend to be erratic as they leave the equator. They move at approximately 20km/hr and their path will be influenced by large scale wind masses.They are especially influenced by the strength and direction of upper level winds. Because they need the ocean to keep feeding them they tend to die out over land, but not before they have done a great deal of damage with winds, rain, and storm surges.
Are Cyclones new? A new record of sediment deposits from Cape Cod Massachusetts, shows evidence that 23 severe hurricanes hit New England between 250 and 1150m AD. That’s a severe storm every 40 years on average. Many of these storms were more likely more intense than any that have hit the area in recorded history. They were category three or four storms like Katrina and Hugo. (Note that in the northern hemisphere, cyclones are called hurricanes.) Between the years 250 and 1150 AD there were no cars, no planes, no industries, relatively small numbers of livestock and very tiny emissions of Carbon Dioxide from humans. Yet there were all those cyclones. How can anyone say that humans were responsible for the cyclones? In 1737, the Hoogly River Cyclone hit India and Bangladesh resulting in the deaths of some 300,000 people. The first recorded cyclone in NZ was in 1878.
NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), has found a declining trend in cyclones since 1850. They found that for most tropical basins the decline has accelerated since 1950 ! How does this sit with climate alarmists? So climate alarmists will continue to say the earth is warming although it has actually been cooling for some years now. So according to them the earth is warming, but cyclones are declining and that decline has accelerated since 1950! One has to ask how humans, putting more and more Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere are responsible for cyclones?
The Difference between Climate and Weather.
Let’s start with a NASA definition: “ No weather by itself is evidence of global climate change as the test is whether the weather adds to a new weather pattern over many years or even millennia.”
To illustrate what that means here is an example. Take Northern Siberia. The temperature in winter may go down to -50 deg C. In summer, the temperature usually does not rise much above about 6 deg C. We can say that Northern Siberia has a cold climate. Why? Because it is cold today in Northern Siberia, cold tomorrow, cold next week, cold next month, and cold next year. The cold goes on and on, producing a weather pattern which says Northern Siberia is cold. So we can say Northern Siberia has a cold climate under the NASA definition. Superimposed on this cold climate in Northern Siberia there is rain, hail, wind and snow. These are weather events.
Last year we had two or three days of rain in Canterbury causing flooding. Towards the end of the year we had a day or two of rain in the Nelson area causing flooding. These were one off events and have not been repeated. It would need to rain almost every day in Canterbury and Nelson over several years before we could say we have climate change. In those cases we would then say Canterbury and Nelson have a damp or wet climate. So these one off events are weather events NOT climate. Likewise with Cyclone Gabrielle. This was a one off event. It is a weather event NOT climate. While probability theory says another cyclone could occur the day after, it is unlikely. Cyclones, like all weather events are random. Just like back in Roman/Medieval times humans are not responsible for cyclones.
Are cyclones common?
Cyclones are reasonably common. In the past 70 years for example, about 400 cyclones have crossed the Australian coast. That’s an average of about 5 or 6 per year.
Are these weather events increasing?
In late 2021, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology stated: “A La Nina event was in full swing with climate scientists saying it would bring cooler temperatures, more rainy days and higher risks of extreme weather.”
Whether it’s an El Nino bringing extreme droughts or a La Nina whipping up severe tropical cyclones and floods, farmers and firefighters, and almost everybody else, have cause to keep a wary eye on subtle temperature changes in the waters to Australia’s north east.
In New Zealand, our third La Nina in a row is still with us (2023). The tropical cyclone risk in NZ is usually the same each year, but mostly they track off to the East and do not reach land. With La Nina still present, though declining, it still adds a little more to that tropical cyclone risk.
The impact of La Nina on NZ means more moist rainy conditions to the North East of the North Island and reduced rainfall to the South of the South Island. So Central Otago and South Canterbury can experience drought.
So what happens in 2023? During the peak of La Nina last spring, NZ was still frequently being dominated by weather patterns out of Australia, the Tasman Sea, and the Southern Ocean. So the chaotic weather pattern driven by the Southern Ocean may still impact us. There is no doubt. La Nina causes more variety and more chaos in our weather.
Ian Bradford, a science graduate, is a former teacher, lawyer, farmer and keen sportsman, who is writing a book about the fraud of anthropogenic climate change.