Last week I mentioned the new Virmani and Weisberg hurricane paper. Now Kevin Vranes has gone the extra mile (where would we be without the blogosphere?) and actually read it:
What controlled the anomalous 2004 and 2005 seasons was a slackening in the easterly winds in the tropical Atlantic (for you non- atmospheric nerds, the “ly” at the end of a direction means “coming from” that direction). The winds usually cool the upper few dozen meters of the ocean surface, so when the winds aren’t there the ocean gets anomalously warm, which leads to stronger hurricanes.
When this slackening of the easterlies occurs concurrently with a couple of other climatological factors that favor hurricane development, you get a big hurricane season. This has happened a few times in the past, with no apparent connection to any known climatological cycle or to anthropogenic global warming (AGW):
The bottom line, as usual from those pesky policy types, is that it’s the building of the big hotels and the houses on the beaches and such that dominates the hurricane damage equation. (I like that Kevin requotes Ross Gelbspan, everyone’s new favorite leftist scientization whipping boy.)