According to New York Times reporter Andrew Rivkin, one of the leading proponents of the science linking hurricanes to global warming has backtracked in a recent study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society:
The research is important because the lead author is Kerry Emanuel, the M.I.T. climate scientist who in the 1980's foresaw a rise in hurricane intensity in a human-warmed world and in 2005, just a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans, asserted in a Nature paper that he had found statistical evidence linking rising hurricane energy and warming.
Rivkin says the new study "definitely rolls back [Emanuel's] sense of confidence about a recent role for global warming" in hurricane formation and intensity. The problem for Obama, as Rivkin notes, is that his position paper on energy independence and global warming relies specifically on Emanuel's earlier research. The paper asserts:
"Global warming is real, is happening now and is the result of human activities. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years."
This claim, that the number of powerful storms has doubled in the last 30 years, was based on Emanuel's earlier research (which was disputed by many meteorologists at the time). Now that Emanuel has backed away from the claim, Obama will need to adjust his position--not on whether global warming is real, of course, just that it has anything to do with hurricanes. And Al Gore might want to think about releasing an updated version of an Inconvenient Truth, seeing as how much of the movie was predicated on research now questioned by the very author who produced it.
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