The False Claim that Global Warming Causes Hurricanes to be More Severe – Part 2

Catholic Candle note: Below is the second and final part of an article which debunks the claim of the climate alarmists who assert that hurricanes are becoming more numerous and more severe because of man-made (anthropogenic) “climate change”.  The first part of this article is here:

In part one of this article, we saw that weather and climate go in cycles and that this applies to hurricanes, too.  We saw that N.O.A.A. (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and various studies conclude that, after adjusting for the pre-1972 hurricane under-count (before the use of weather satellites), there is no upward trend in the number or in the severity of hurricanes.

We saw that there was a deep trough in the hurricane cycle – in approximately 1980 – which would allow a dishonest manipulation of the data by deceptively cutting the data to begin there in order to give a false appearance of an alarming hurricane increase, as the climate alarmists falsely claim. 

Now, in the second and final part of this article, we look at the mainstream media making these false claims based on deceptively cutting the data and answer an objection concerning the increasing cost of hurricane damage.

False media claims of hurricanes increasing in number and intensity because of human-caused climate change.

Before we look at where the mainstream media cut the data, let us look at a few examples of what the mainstream media claims – viz., about major hurricanes supposedly becoming more common:

  The New York Times claimed, “strong storms are becoming more common in the Atlantic Ocean.”[1]


  A Washington Post headline warned, “climate change is rapidly fueling super hurricanes”, adding in the body of the article that “storms rated Category 4 or stronger … have increased in number in recent decades”.[2]


  ABC News declared, “Here’s how climate change intensifies hurricanes.”[3]

As we saw in part one of this article, N.O.A.A. and (the science journal) Nature studies conclude the opposite of what these mainstream media are telling people.  Further, we saw that the media “buried” those studies in silence.  But that media makes a show of using (but really abusing) the N.O.A.A. data.  See, for example:

  The New York Times saying that it is relying upon the same NOAA report that we showed in part 1, which concludes the opposite of what the media claims:

And similarly:

  ABC News claiming to rely on this NOAA report here:

But before we look at where the media cut the data, let us also look at an example of what the mainstream media says about the frequency of all hurricanes:

  The Financial Times claimed in an alarmist headline: “hurricane frequency is on the rise.”[4]

Again, N.O.A.A. and the (science journal) Nature studies conclude the opposite of these media claims, “burying” those studies in silence and yet making a show of using (but really abusing) N.O.A.A. data.

The Leftists Deceptively Cut the Data at 1980.

Now let us look at where the New York Times[5] article cut the data.

Notice the above graph begins in 1980.  Why didn’t the media use the longer data set that is readily available?  Because it would have shown the falsity of their claims.

Here (below), e.g., is a N.O.A.A. graph[6] showing the larger data set that the New York Times could have used (but did not use), going back 120 years further, to 1860:    

How different the data looks when we see it in context – when it is not cut deceptively, as the New York Times does!  Reviewing the entire data set, we see it would be absurd to worry about the hurricane cycle upswing beginning in 1980.

As shown in the Catholic Candle articles which are linked to the introduction of part 1 of this present article, when the temperature cycle was on a significant cooling trend, the climate alarmists tried to scare the public about the cooling being permanent and that we were entering a permanent “new ice age”.  Then, when the inevitable warming cycle began after that, they switched their scare tactics to “global warming” – all to promote increased government intrusion in people’s lives, a globalist power grab. 

But notice that the current scare about “stronger and more frequent hurricanes” did not have a predecessor scare when the hurricane cycle was going in the opposite direction.  The reason is obvious: people would not be afraid (in the years preceding roughly 1980) that climate change is causing a reduction in hurricanes.  So, the leftists had to wait to use hurricanes as a scare tactic until hurricanes began to rise out of the 1980’s era “deep minimum”.

Conclusion of this Section about Mainstream Media Reporting

The mainstream media ignore the key hurricane data in order to falsely claim that hurricanes are increasing in number and severity because of human-caused climate change.

Climate change alarmism based on the increased number and severity of hurricanes is deceptive and false and is aimed at a globalist power grab because of the supposed need for the government to regulate everything to “save us” from disaster.

This is a further reminder that the mainstream media lie to us.  They are not misguided bumblers who don’t succeed in their attempt to publish the truth.  Rather they are leftist liars who use every opportunity to indoctrinate us to promote the false globalist narrative and ongoing power grab.[7]  


The Increasing Cost of Hurricanes

Q.      Is it true that hurricanes are becoming more expensive? 

A.      Yes, but not because of climate change.

There has been a dramatic increase of persons and property in “harm’s way” in hurricane-prone coastal areas because the great increase in property development of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts (as well as because of inflation) – all these circumstances are used by the leftists to make hurricanes appear worse than 100 years ago.

This is one more way for the climate scare-mongers to alarm people and promote their globalist power-grab agenda.  They declare that the increasing cost of hurricanes – both the number and severity – show that climate crisis is a “fact”.

It is true that the cost of hurricanes is increasing, even when adjusted for inflation.  See, e.g., a graph (below) courtesy of Munich Re, a very large global property insurer with a huge loss database used for this graph.


This graph is available courtesy of Roger Pielke, Jr., in his article entitled: Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change, available here:

Although in this graph (above) we see the increasing cost of natural disasters, that is only half of the picture.  In fact, the upward trend in the cost of natural disasters is because we are getting richer and have more goods and property which can be destroyed in a disaster.  In other words, even adjusting for inflation, there is an increasing value of the property that is “in harm’s way”.

Look at the graph below, also courtesy of Munich Re.  It shows that natural disasters do destroy a higher value of property now but that value is proportional to our increase in wealth.  Owning more things means people have more things “in harm’s way” and available to be damaged.


This graph is available courtesy of Roger Pielke, Jr., in his article entitled: Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change, available here:

Taking greater wealth into account, the same level of storm frequency and severity does more harm.  You can see this is common sense.  If a person 100 years ago owned a dingy (row boat) docked on the Gulf Coast, he would be exposed to much less property damage potential than his grandson who keeps a large yacht in the same location during an equivalent storm.

It is especially striking how more people are moving into places which expose them to adverse natural occurrences (hurricanes, mudslides, etc.).

Consider how much more developed Miami Beach is today compared to a century ago. See below.

For this reason, if equal storms hit Miami Beach, Florida in 1925 and in 2017, the damage from the 2017 storm would be much greater because there are so many more people and so much more property “in harm’s way”.

Similarly, look at the Houston, Texas skyline in 1927 (below) and today (further below).

Current picture of the Houston skyline:

Because people are richer now than 100 years ago and because they (perhaps imprudently) place more valuable property at risk in attractive but hazardous locations, it is no wonder that a storm now would cause much more damage that an equal storm 100 years ago.

Leaving aside the upward trend (“correction”) from the “deep minimum” in the hurricane cycle which occurred in about the 1980s, there is no increase in the number and the severity of hurricanes; yet the same severity and number of hurricanes now often do more damage because there is more property “in harm’s way”.

In fact, the coastal urban areas are actually safer than ever, when computed as the number of persons killed by hurricanes, as a percentage of persons who are located in those hurricane-prone areas.  Here is how one recent study explained this:

Abstract: … Here, [i.e., in this study] we report on impacts of global coastal storm surge events since the year 1900, based on a compilation of events and data on loss of life.  We find that over the past, more than eight thousand people are killed and 1.5 million people are affected annually by storm surges [throughout the world].  The occurrence of very substantial loss of life (>10000 persons) from single events has, however, decreased over time.  Moreover, there is a consistent decrease in event mortality, measured by the fraction of exposed people that are killed, for all global regions, except South East Asia.  Average mortality for storm surges is slightly higher than for river floods, but lower than for flash floods.  We also find that for the same coastal surge water level, mortality has decreased over time.  This indicates that risk reduction efforts have been successful, but need to be continued with projected climate change, increased rates of sea-level rise and urbanisation in coastal zones.[8]

For example, Miami Beach had a population of 28,012 in 1940[9] and has a population of 80,671[10] now.  Because the city of Miami Beach has about three times as many people as it did 60 years ago, there are so many more people “in harm’s way” even though each person who is there is safer than he would have been in earlier decades.

Further, just as hurricane fatalities are not increasing as a percentage of the people who are living “in harm’s way”, likewise, the studies show that the amount of damage that hurricanes cause is not increasing when we take into account that people are bringing greater wealth into hurricane zones.  Here is how one study explained this fact:

In recent years claims have been made in venues including the authoritative reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in testimony before the US Congress that economic losses from weather events have been increasing beyond that which can be explained by societal change, based on loss data from the reinsurance industry and aggregated since 1980 at the global level.  Such claims imply a contradiction with a large set of peer-reviewed studies focused on regional losses, typically over a much longer time period, which concludes that loss trends are explained entirely by societal change.  To address this implied mismatch, we disaggregate global losses from a widely utilized reinsurance dataset into regional components and compare this disaggregation directly to the findings from the literature at the regional scale, most of which reach back much further in time.  We find that global losses increased at a rate of $3.1 billion/year (2008 USD) from 1980–2008 and losses from North American, Asian, European, and Australian storms and floods account for 97% of the increase.  In particular, North American storms, of which U.S. hurricane losses compose the bulk, account for 57% of global economic losses.  Longer-term loss trends in these regions can be explained entirely by socioeconomic factors in each region such as increasing wealth, population growth, and increasing development in vulnerable areas.  The remaining 3% of the global increase 1980 to 2008 is the result of losses for which regionally based studies have not yet been completed.  On climate time scales, societal change is sufficient to explain the increasing costs of disasters at the global level and claims to the contrary are not supported by aggregate loss data from the reinsurance industry.[11]

Here is the summary of a study where the researchers examined 106 years of hurricane data to compare the cost of hurricane losses, after adjusting them for inflation and for the amount of property “in harm’s way”:

Abstract: After more than two decades of relatively little Atlantic hurricane activity, the past decade saw heightened hurricane activity and more than $150 billion in damage in 2004 and 2005.  This paper normalizes mainland U.S. hurricane damage from 1900–2005 to 2005 values using two methodologies.  A normalization provides an estimate of the damage that would occur if storms from the past made landfall under another year’s societal conditions.  Our methods use changes in inflation and wealth at the national level and changes in population and housing units at the coastal county level.  Across both normalization methods, there is no remaining trend of increasing absolute damage in the data set, which follows the lack of trends in landfall frequency or intensity observed over the twentieth century. The 1970s and 1980s were notable because of the extremely low amounts of damage compared to other decades. The decade 1996–2005 has the second most damage among the past 11 decades, with only the decade 1926–1935 surpassing its costs. Over the 106 years of record, the average annual normalized damage in the continental United States is about $10 billion under both methods.  The most damaging single storm is the 1926 Great Miami storm, with $140–157 billion of normalized damage: the most damaging years are 1926 and 2005.  Of the total damage, about 85% is accounted for by the intense hurricanes Saffir-Simpson Categories 3, 4, and 5, yet these have comprised only 24% of the U.S. landfalling tropical cyclones.[12]

This last study predicts that hurricane damage will continue to trend upward because more and more people and property are moving into the hurricane-prone areas.  Here is how the study concludes this:

Unless action is taken to address the growing concentration of people and properties in coastal areas where hurricanes strike, damage will increase, and by a great deal, as more and wealthier people increasingly inhabit these coastal locations.[13]


Conclusion of the Entire Article

We see that:

  The climate goes in cycles of various sizes from daily cycles to centuries-long cycles, with other cycles in between.


  Hurricanes go in cycles too – annual cycles and decades-long cycles.  Perhaps hurricanes also follow multi-year cycles and multi-century cycles but we will leave those inquiries aside for now.

  NOAA and its studies conclude that there is no trend toward increasing numbers or severity of hurricanes, although these conclusions are buried and not publicized.


  In about the 1980s, there was a “deep minimum” of hurricane activity, which the leftists use as the beginning of their data set to make the hurricane cycle’s returning to normalcy falsely appear (to the gullible) as an alarming upward trend.


  The leftist media and climate alarmists in the popular press falsely promote a supposed climate emergency to worry people and attempt to grab power and take the people’s freedom because this is “necessary” in order for mankind to survive.


  During the last hundred years, there has been a dramatic increase in people and property being located in hurricane-prone coastal areas.  If we adjust for the large increase in people in “harm’s way”, these coastal areas have become much safer and there has been a dramatic decrease in the percentage of people killed in the areas where hurricanes strike.  Likewise, if we adjust for inflation and for the increase in the value of property that people choose to bring into those areas, hurricanes destroy a decreasing percentage of the property which is exposed to storm hazards.


  Don’t be deceived by the claim that man-caused climate change is causing an increase in the number and severity of hurricanes.

[5]           Reproduced from The New York Times article entitled Ian Moves North, found here:

[6]           This graph beginning in 1860, is taken from the report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, found here: at figure 4, ratio of Atlantic major hurricanes (Cat 3-5) to all hurricanes (Cat 1-5).  The gray curve is prior to adjustment; blue curves include an adjustment for estimated missing storms.  This graph and data were originally published in ecchi et al. 2021.           

[7]           For a further analysis of how the mainstream media and other leftists deceive us through data manipulation, read this article: “Big Data” – A New Version of an Old Danger of Manipulation and Deception found here:

[8]           Global mortality from storm surges is decreasing, by Laurens M Bouwer and Sebastian N Jonkman, Published 5 January 2018 • © 2018 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd. Environmental Research LettersVolume 13Number 1 Citation, Laurens M Bouwer and Sebastiaan N Jonkman, 2018 Environ. Res. Lett. 13 014008 DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/aa98a3.  (Emphasis added and bracketed words added to show the context.)  This study is available here:


[9]           Population data found here: Webster’s 6th Collegiate Dictionary, ©1940 in the Pronouncing Gazetteer, page 1118.

[11]         Quoted from: Reconciliation of Trends in Global and Regional Economic Losses from Weather Events: 1980–2008, Shalini Mohleji and Roger Pielke, Jr., available here:

[12]         Quoted from: Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900–2005, Roger A. Pielke, Jr.; Joel Gratz; Christopher W. Landsea; Douglas Collins; Mark A. Saunders; and Rade Musulin, DOI: 10.1061/ASCE1527-698820089:129.  This study can be found here:

[13]         Quoted from: Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900–2005, Roger A. Pielke, Jr.; Joel Gratz; Christopher W. Landsea; Douglas Collins; Mark A. Saunders; and Rade Musulin, DOI: 10.1061/ASCE1527-698820089:129.  This study can be found here: