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A High-Intensity Hurricane Record Preserved in a Florida Sinkhole
Reference
Lane, P., Donnelly, J.P., Woodruff, J.D. and Hawkes, A.D. 2011. A decadally-resolved paleohurricane record archived in the late Holocene sediments of a Florida sinkhole. Marine Geology 287: 14-30.

Background
Noting that "the brief observational record is inadequate for characterizing natural variability in hurricane activity occurring on longer than multi-decadal timescales," the authors sought a means of characterizing hurricane activity prior to the period of modern measurement and historical record keeping, due to the fact that "the manner in which tropical cyclone activity and climate interact has critical implications for society and is not well understood."

What was done
Lane et al. developed a 4500-year record of intense hurricane-induced storm surges based on data obtained from "a nearly circular, 200-m-diameter cover-collapse sinkhole (Mullet Pond: 29°55.520'N, 84°20.275'W) that is located on Bald Point near Apalachee Bay, Florida, USA, where (1) "recent deposition of sand layers in the upper sediments of the pond was found to be contemporaneous with significant, historic storm surges at the site modeled using SLOSH and the Best Track, post-1851 AD dataset," where (2) "paleohurricane deposits were identified by sand content and dated using radiocarbon-based age models," and where (3) "marine-indicative foraminifera, some originating at least 5 km offshore, were present in several modern and ancient storm deposits."

What was learned
The four researchers' reconstructed record of intense hurricanes revealed that the frequency of these "high-magnitude" events "peaked near 6 storms per century between 2800 and 2300 years ago." Thereafter, it suggests that they were "relatively rare" with "about 0-3 storms per century occurring between 1900 and 1600 years ago," after which they state that these super-storms exhibited a marked decline, which "began around 600 years ago" and has persisted through the present with "below average frequency over the last 150 years when compared to the preceding five millennia."

What it means
It is instructive to note that over the past century and a half of ever-increasing fossil fuel utilization and atmospheric CO2 buildup, the frequency of the most intense category of hurricanes in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico has been lower than it was over the prior five millennia, which speaks volumes about the climate-alarmist claim that continued anthropogenic CO2 emissions will lead to more frequent super cyclones and hurricanes.

Reviewed 25 January 2012