Three Centuries of Hurricane Trends in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Paper Reviewed Lindner, B.L. 2019. Climatology and variability of tropical cyclones affecting Charleston, South Carolina, from 1670-1850. Journal of Coastal Research 35: 397-409. In providing the rational for his study, Lindner (2019) writes that “studies of tropical cyclones before 1851 have used a variety of data sources that have resulted in different compilations of the chronology and properties of tropical cyclones.” Consequently, he called for a “limited meta-analysis approach” to prepare a more accurate assessment of the long-term trends in tropical cyclones. As an example of this approach, Linder utilized and examined seven prior works to produce a long-term chronology of tropical cyclones affecting the region of Charleston, South Carolina, over the period 1670-1850. Thereafter, he compared the frequency and severity of cyclones in this newly-established meta-analysis with that observed during modern times (1851-2015). The results from such an analysis carry important implications in the climate change debate, as climate alarmists have long been predicting the frequency and severity of hurricanes should be increasing in response to CO2-induced global warming. So is it? In all, the new record identified a total of 78 tropical cyclones in the 180-year record. Specifically, Lindner reported the existence of 18 cyclones of major intensity (all likely with major hurricane strength; Category 4 or 5), 14 of moderate intensity (minor hurricanes; Category 2 or 3), 20 low intensity (Category 1 hurricanes or tropical storm strength) and 26 classified as uncorroborated tropical cyclones (Category 1 or of tropical storm strength but not consistently corroborated in the underlying chronologies of the meta-analysis). With respect to hurricane frequency trends, Lindner reports “an examination of the tropical cyclones during the period 1670-1850 appears to show return rates and seasonality consistent with the centuries thereafter,” adding “there is no significant indication of climatic change in the number of tropical cyclones,” which is “consistent with previous studies that have found no variation in tropical cyclone activity throughout the modern era.” With respect to hurricane intensity trends, the authors note that “major hurricane activity was more prominent in the period 1670-1850 than in the period 1851-2015,” which finding they say also “runs counter to previous studies that have found that climate change could be increasing major hurricane activity in the modern era.” In considering all of the above, it would thus appear that global warming over the past three centuries has had no discernible impact on the overall number and/or return rates of hurricanes in the Charleston area, but may have reduced the number of major hurricanes. Such observations fail to support climate alarmist predictions. This article appeared on the CO2 Science website at http://www.co2science.org/articles/V23/may/a5.php]]>

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