BENCHMARK STORMS AND HYPE

Unfortunately for this overly dramatic reporter, this video went viral, with over a quarter million views in mere hours:

The reporter was only attempting to add a bit of drama to his report, but likely was not on the best of terms with the man holding the camera. If it were not for the two people casually strolling by in the background (which an adept cameraman would have made sure not to include) his acting job would have been quite convincing. Instead he will be held up as yet another “epitome of fake news”, (and also will likely have to bear some nickname such as “Staggers” for the rest of his life).

This hype is old news in many ways. Here is Anderson “pooper” Cooper reporting from the gutter during Hurricane Ike.

The accompanying hysteria seemed to be reaching “jump the shark” proportions. I cannot help but wonder how many take the media claims that “It is all Trump’s fault” seriously.

https://news.grabien.com/story-media-politicize-florence-blame-trump-storms-predict-mass-de

The level of inanity astonishes me, and demands some sort of push-back. I was glad to see the “Watt’s Up With That” website immediately produced a series of posts countering the politicized editorials spewed by the mainstream media. Especially encouraging was a parody of media hype produced by firemen, for it seems to indicate ordinary people are not gullible “sheeple”, and see through the hype, and find the media laughable.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/15/another-fakenews-video-cnn-anderson-cooper-hypes-hurricaneflorence-flooding-meanwhile-firefighters-spoof-tv-news/

Besides reducing the hysteria of the media to absurdity, it is important to factually counter their wild claims. I think Dr. Tim Ball did an excellent job in the following post, first by examining Hurricane Florence from a meteorological standpoint, and showing it was in many ways a fairly normal September hurricane at landfall, and second by pointing out how insurance companies stand to profit from hysteria. (Especially interesting and informative were his insights about how such storms “flatten” as they come north.)

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/16/hurricane-florence-culmination-of-exploitation-of-natural-events-by-government-extremists-and-business/

Another post, with further facts and figures was produced by James D. Agresti.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/16/the-washington-posts-slander-on-hurricanes-and-climate-change/

I feel it is important to arm yourself with facts and figures, despite the fact some Alarmists will simply shout you down by screeching you are a “Denier.” Admittedly it can be scary to face a mob, and some elements of current politics has the definite feel of a witch hunt.  One wants to duck for cover, for one feels like Dr. Frankenstein facing villagers bearing pitchforks and torches. But during such times I remember the importance of the character “Jojo” in the classic “Horton Hears A Who”, by the great American poet and master of  anapestic tetrameter, Dr. Seuss.

 

Yes, it is important for every voice to be heard, for a grain of sand can start an avalanche. Do not allow yourself to be shouted down.

I’ll admit the struggle does get tiresome. It’s been going on for decades. I myself was first jolted awake to the element of nonsense within “Climate Science” when I opened the November, 2006 issue of National Geographic, as it was devoted to hurricanes and I had a long-time interest in such storms, and came across a article by “weepy” Bill MCKibben called, “A  Deeper Shade Of Green”.  It began,

“This is the year we finally started to understand what we are in for. Exactly 12 months ago, an MIT professor named Kerry Emanuel published a paper in Nature showing hurricanes had slowly but steadily been gaining in strength and duration for a generation. It didn’t gain widespread attention for a few weeks — not until Katrina roared across the Gulf of Mexico and…”

I knew enough trivia about hurricanes to recognize the article contained sheer balderdash misinformation, and began attempting to correct the record in small ways, but my efforts seemed to have no effect. Bill McKibben got lots of publicity generating hysteria that failed to verify, while I was either ignored or rebuked as a “denier.” However 2006 marked a clear increase in the number of “Skeptic” sites where you could be heard. As McKibben’s nonsense went on and on, year after year, he faced increasing push-back. I finally got a long and detailed rebuttal to his hysteria published at WUWT in 2012.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/21/hurricane-warning-mckibben-alert/

Long and detailed rebuttals didn’t seem to have the slightest effect on Weepy Bill himself, or on the more ardent Alarmists. They simply refused to respond. But this refusal to respond made their arguments look increasingly like they lacked any substance. They were like those hollow paper tubes that hold rolls of toilet paper. More and more they seemed to be using empty political slogans rather than any points that were remotely debatable. Getting hit by these empty slogans was like getting bopped over the head by a paper tube. All they did was rob you of a degree of your dignity, but they failed to make the attacker look civil, and did make them look a little insane.

The ineffectiveness of political slogans, and the failure of such propaganda to fool indoctrinate the public became apparent with the Brexit election, and the election of Donald Trump. At this point a certain degree of desperation set in, felt by those whose livelihood is dependent on empty slogans. However, if you only have empty slogans to use, using them more and more frantically persuades no one.

At this point I think it might be interesting to go to a network noted for slogans, MSNBC, and examine the introduction to a so-called “analysis” of the news. Usually such an introduction passes quickly as a stream of blather, but we shall slow it down and parse the sentences. If we analyse the analysis we can see if it is connected to reality, or not.

The speaker is Katy Tur and she begins,

“President Trump says FEMA is ready for Hurricane Florence but mounting evidence suggests it could be incredibly difficult to deal with this disaster if climate change deniers are on the front lines…”

Excuse me? Is there anything an Alarmist can do that a Skeptic can’t, on the “front lines?” Does an Alarmist have a witch doctor’s wand they can shake at the waves to make them retreat? No. In fact even the UN’s highly politicized IPCC  report can see no “trend” in hurricanes,  either increasing or decreasing, in recent years. If there is no “trend” there can be no “trend” caused by man, which therefore suggests there is no way puny humans can turn these mighty storms left or right.

In terms of the present tense, when Hurricane Florence battered our shores we didn’t need Climate Scientist’s theory from ivory towers, which accomplishes absolutely nothing, but rather we wanted hard-nosed people who understand the logistics of coping with a hurricane’s effect on our infrastructure. As is the case on battlefields in the fog of war, or on ships at sea in storms, it doesn’t matter if you are black or white, Republican or Democrat, religious or atheist, or even Alarmist or Skeptic. All that matters is the capability and grit you display, under the stress of a hurricane.

Katy’s next sentence is this appeal to authority:

“…A new study from the Princeton University is echoing the findings of previous research showing climate change as the cause of ocean conditions that produce fast storms like Hurricane Harvey…”

Oh brother! Hurricane Harvey was a slow storm, not a fast storm. Harvey’s excessive rainfall would have been less devastating if it was spread out over several states. However the hurricane stalled over Texas, and all the rain fell in one place.

In actual fact I doubt people at Princeton University are so ignorant, nor that they “echoed” any other “study” so ignorant, that that called Hurricane Harvey “fast”. Rather this is an example of atrociously bad reporting, and the above point is an attempt of an imbecile to look like they hang around with college professors. It is as silly as the video of the man staggering in a calm that began this post. It is an appeal to authority by a moron attempting to look like a genius by donning a white lab coat. (I won’t blame Katy, but rather the writer who wrote the balderdash she mouthed.)

(By the way, I fully expect to soon see a report stating that slower storms are caused by Global Warming.)

Her next sentance is:

“…NOAA is suggesting it’s 3 degrees Fahrenheit above average…”

The “it’s” Katy is referring to is the “ocean conditions that produce fast storms like Hurricane Harvey”, however NOAH doesn’t need to suggest. The have actual satellites that produce actual data. So let’s look and see if the ocean is three degrees Fahrenheit above average.

Oh! I see. The “it’s” Katy says NOAA is referring to isn’t the entire ocean. “Its” an area off the Northeast USA coast extending towards Europe. Elsewhere, the southern hemisphere is largely below normal. And Hurricane Florence actually formed over below-normal waters over towards West Africa. But never mind that. Let us proceed to the point she was driving at.

“…Where does the Trump Administration stand on climate change?…” 

Eh? How does that follow? A sort of leap in logic has occurred. Is this a case of the-hand-is-faster-than-the-eye?

As best as I can figure, Katy has leaped from NOAA “suggesting” that some vague “it” is three degrees above normal, to politics. The assumption must be that “it” proves Global Warming is real, and now we should hurry on to how Trump is dealing with this “reality”. However we will need to come back later, and look more carefully at the “it” she has so hurriedly hastened away from.

She continues:

“…President Trump rolled back Obama era mandates for leaks and oil and gas wells…” 

Now we have completely left the topic of meteorology. We are into the fields of economics and energy production, and also public safety. The state of our infrastructure is a topic of interest to me, and well worth discussing. On September 13 a leaky gas line, (and perhaps a foul-up in the pressure in the lines),  caused 60 fires and chaos not far from where I now sit and type.

I will return to this subject later. (But please note the solar panels on the above house.)

For the time being, let us continue with Katy’s logic:

“…These rules were part of Obama’s three part strategy for combating climate change.”

Whoa! Wait a minute. How did we get back to meteorology? I thought we were talking about leaky gas mains and infrastructure.

All in all Katy Tur has provided us with a splendid example of an intellect that fails to think deeply, or move cautiously. Instead she leaps from topic to topic with a splendid disregard for investigative reporting. In this manner she avoids that which would give a more ordinary thinkers reason to pause. It ignores the advice, “The buyer beware.” (I could likely sell her the Brooklyn Bridge).

I don’t really want to take Katy to task. She’s putting on a show for the cameras, just like the reporter in the video at the start of this post was putting on a show for the cameras. The above quotes were from Katy’s intro to an interview with “Bill Nye the Science Guy”, who also is hard to take to task, for he too is putting on a show for the cameras. And then Katy moved on to interview the former “White House Climate Change Task Force’s Director Of Communication”, (a position that paid a six-figure taxpayer-funded salary, which President Trump has abolished.)  But what, may I ask, is a “Director Of Communications”? It is not someone in charge of putting on a show for cameras?

All these people putting on shows for the cameras are merely doing the job they are paid to do. If they show a falsehood, don’t blame them (though they must bear a certain shame for doing the job they do). Blame those who create the job, hire them, and pay them.

But the so-called “infrastructure” does not care how you look on camera. It must obey a fundamental reality or it fails. If you put too much pressure into the gas mains, big troubles can ensue. Allow me to be redundant and repost this picture:

This poor home-owner lost his house despite his virtue-signaling solar panels. Was his loss due to “Climate Change”? No, for the weather was nice. Was it due to “Climate Change Politics”? I suggest the answer is “Yes”. Why? Because too much focus has been on how things look on camera, and too little attention, time, and money has been placed on the basic facts of basic engineering. The infrastructure is not a thing thing that cares for cameras. A politician’s blandishments and pretty talk mean nothing to a rusting pipe. You cannot bribe a gas main.

Look again at the virtue-signaling solar panels. They are not very effective when the sun sulks down by the horizon, this far north, in December. Nor can wind turbines replace them, for our coldest weather occurs when the Arctic Highs are cresting, and the “Montreal Express” ebbs to a dead calm. At that point both solar power and wind turbines supply the infrastructure nothing, and we must turn to fossil fuels, or freeze. As coal power plants were “phased out” by the prior administration, natural gas became increasingly important as a “back-up” for “sustainable” energy (which isn’t sustainable, because it can’t sustain itself in a midwinter cold spell.)

But when neglected infrastructure, (neglected because Alarmists demanded attention be elsewhere), breaks down, the usual suspects reappeared, including the nemesis of sanity  “Weepy” Bill Mckibben. (He tends to show up after every disaster, licking his chops like a vulture). Within hours of the Massachusetts explosions and fires he tweeted, “The Massachusetts gas explosions are a good reminder of the many reasons we need to get off fossil fuel.”

I am so sick of this “progressiveness”. In any disaster it holds the helpfulness of a hyena. It waves hands vaguely at some future prospect, and does absolutely nothing to remedy the current crisis, and (what is most annoying) it gets rich doing so.

What McKibben was suggesting in “A Deeper Shade Of Green”, way back in 2006, was that Katrina was the first of many massive hurricanes that would smash into the USA, due to mankind’s production of CO2. Time has proven him completely wrong. There actually have been fewer major hurricanes in the past thirteen years than his dramatic article, (containing the same appeals-to-university-authority that Katy employed), warned us to expect. In actual fact there have been fewer hurricanes than a ordinary scan of history would lead us to expect.

Can he be held accountable? According to some readings of the Old Testament, when a man stands before other men and states he is a prophet, and then, when what he prophesies does not come true, he has proven himself a “false prophet”, and the societal remedy is to haul him to the town green, and stone him to death. Fortunately for Weepy Bill we don’t follow this practice any more, perhaps due to Jesus stating, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” This is not to say he doesn’t get stoned, but if so it his own doing, perhaps due to what it is now legal to smoke in Massachusetts.

What annoys me is that some continue to heed such people, taking them as an authority  despite the fact they have proven themselves persistently wrong. It does not help us with the real task at hand, which is to keep our infrastructure is the best possible shape, and to repair it after benchmark storms.

Rather than hype, the public should be informed about what is possible, which involves a clear comprehension of what a “benchmark hurricane” is.

A benchmark hurricane a worst-case-scenario.  It is the worst storm a particular area has a record of.

As one moves up and down any coast one discovers the “benchmark hurricane” differs, because the worst winds and storm surge associated with a hurricane are in its eyewall, (usually the part with onshore winds), which in some cases can be a surprisingly tight area.  For example, driving south of Myrtle Beach in November, 1989 I witnessed, moving through Surfside south towards Murrell’s Inlet, the devastation rapidly increased as one neared the place where Hurricane Hugo’s path plunged inland. Driving north, on the other hand, to North Myrtle Beach,  (to where I once lived), there was only slight damage, and the relieved residents were joking about how they hadn’t needed to evacuate. But I could point out to them a place where I had put in a garden, behind the house where I had formerly lived, and explained that as I dug I found scattered bricks, from a hotel a hundred yards down the beach that Hurricane Hazel smashed in 1954. I stated they were wise to evacuate, for the weather bureau can never be exactly sure where a storm will make landfall, and if Hugo had veered fifty miles north the situation in North Myrtle Beach would have been entirely different. In any case, Surfside had Hugo as its “benchmark,” while North Myrtle Beach had Hazel. (An area between was spared the worst of both).

The word “benchmark” came from a mark a workman might put on his workbench as a handy reference point, so he would not have to take out a tape measure and re-measure over and over. It serves the same purpose for engineers, who must design structures to handle bad weather. They look to see what is the worst Mother Nature has dished up in the past, using it as a reference point, and then look to see if they can design anything that can withstand such fury.

The answer is seldom, “No”, which surprises some people. The Bible advises against building on sand, but the engineer’s answer is “Yes, you can build there, but it would be extremely expensive; do you have a couple billion dollars handy?” In such cases they are not building on sand, for they put in a deep concrete foundation, and build a sort of bunker.

The buyer, (and often the taxpayer) beware. Often the engineer is disappointed, and rather than a billion dollars only gets a hundred thousand. For example, there are rivers in Texas that are usually dry,  but occasionally rampage due to tropical storms. An engineer could design a costly suspension bridge over the gully,  or a cheap ford over the river bottom which would be closed when the river was in flood, and likely need to be replaced on a regular basis. The customer then looks in his wallet, and makes a choice.

There are some sections of coast that, for whatever reason, are luckier than others, and have dodged the bullet and therefore have less devastating “benchmark hurricanes”. In these cases engineers raise the benchmark, for they think the luck will not last.  Perhaps they studied a channel cut through a nearby marsh, and noticed that within the layers of peat there were occasional layers of sand, washed all the way inland from the beach, during massive storms that occurred before records were kept. With the help of geologists they can determine the likelihood of such huge hurricanes, and advise customers about the likelihood of such a storm, giving us terms such as “once-every-500-year-storm”.

In Europe, where records have been kept longer, there are records of times the North Sea went on a complete rampage, and villages and parts of entire counties vanished, and on maps areas went from being land to being shoally seas. Because this is actual history the Alarmists should not use the word “Unprecedented” for modern storms in Europe, but history never seems to stop Alarmists from being overly dramatic (and therefore inaccurate) about the present.

Engineers need to be economical. A small road in a small town can’t afford a giant culvert for a small brook, to handle a once-every-500-year-storm. The taxpayers will pay for a small culvert, and then pay to fix the road if they have to. For this reason a wisely devised emergency-management-plan seeks to predict damages, not to prevent any and all damage from ever occurring.

When I was living in Myrtle Beach I was a bit scornful of everyone building on land that was only three to six feet above high tide, and one time I haughtily informed a construction worker that another Hurricane Hazel would  wash away all his work with a twelve-foot storm surge. He smiled cheerfully at me and stated, “That will be great for construction workers, for we’ll have to build it all back again. You’re not going to stop people from enjoying the beauty of this beach.”

A few years later I returned to inspect the damage after Hurricane Hugo, and down past Surfside came to a stretch of beach where nothing but pilings remained of the beachfront homes. They had all been built atop twelve foot pilings, and only the pilings remained. Each and every house was a block or two back from the beach, smashed into other houses. But then I noticed a lone beachfront house remained. The garage beneath the house was gone, and the staircase up to the house dangled brokenly in mid air, but the house remained. As I looked at it and scratched my head a local fellow came up to me and asked, “Wondering about that house?”

I nodded.

“I don’t know why, but that fellow paid a bit extra for longer pilings, and his house’s floor was three feet taller than the rest.”

Surfside was a terrible mess, but now it is all cleaned up and people are enjoying vacations at the beach again.

And what is the moral of all this? It is to be practical. It isn’t to ban beautiful resorts in beautiful places, but to enjoy the best while being ready for the worst, with a wise contingency plan.

We also need a plan of how to deal with the Alarmists who have become addicted to a way of making money from the imaginary danger of Global Warming. They may number in the millions, if you include all government jobs,  and they are facing a hurricane of their own making. They have mortgages to pay, children to clothe and feed, car-payments to make, but are facing homelessness, for the political construct they depended on is going to be swept away.

Either it will be swept away by wise choices and sane behavior, or by the social insanity of civil war, but it simply is not a sustainable construct, despite all the bather about “sustainability.”

 

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