Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Environment

Barak Obama on Hurricanes (and Tornadoes!) and GW

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApril 4, 2006 6:53 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The junior senator from Illinois recently gave a long speech on global warming, which included the following:

And while the situation on the land may look ugly, what's going on in the oceans is even worse. Hurricanes and typhoons thrive in warm water, and as the temperature has risen, so has the intensity of these storms. In the last thirty-five years, the percentage of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled, and the wind speed and duration of these storms has jumped 50%. A hurricane showed up in the South Atlantic recently when scientists said it could never happen. Last year, Japan set a new record when it suffered its tenth typhoon and the United States set a record for the most tornadoes we've ever had. And at one point, Hurricane Wilma was the most powerful storm ever measured.

On the one hand, I have to praise Obama and his staff--this passage suggests they conducted some individual research. However, two errors: 1) Hurricane Wilma was the most powerful storm ever measured in the Atlantic, not anywhere on the globe. And more importantly 2): I know of no basis for talking about tornadoes in the context of global warming. I'm not aware of any theory on why they should increase in strength, much less any data backing that theory up. So unfortunately, I have to conclude that Obama has gone too far in this instance.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In