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Landfalling Atlantic Basin Hurricanes: Are They Increasing?
Reference
Parisi, F. and Lund, R. 2000. Seasonality and return periods of landfalling Atlantic basin hurricanes. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics 42: 271-282.

Background
Is there a week that passes that someone does not matter-of-factly state in some media outlet that there will be more hurricanes as global warming continues? Hardly ever. The claim is made almost as frequently as the statement that the decade of the 1990s was the warmest of the past millennium. Unfortunately for the perpetrators of these unverified assumptions, this tidy little research article clearly demonstrates that at least one of the two claims cannot be correct.

What was done
The authors conducted a number of statistical tests on all Atlantic Basin hurricanes that made landfall in the contiguous United States during the years 1935-98.

What was learned
In the words of the authors, "a simple linear regression of the yearly number of landfalling hurricanes on the years of study produces a trend slope estimate of -0.011 0.0086 storms per year." And to drive home the significance of that result, they expressly call attention to the fact that "the estimated trend slope is negative," which means, of course, that - if anything - the yearly number of such storms is decreasing, which is just the opposite of what the authors call the "frequent hypothesis ... that global warming is causing increased storm activity." When all is said and done, however, they note that "the trend slope is not significantly different from zero."

What it means
If the earth has indeed warmed between 1935 and 1998, especially as much as the climate alarmists fervently claim, and if warming does indeed lead to more hurricanes, as they also fervently claim, there should surely have been a trend of increasing landfalling hurricanes in the contiguous United States over the period of this study. However, the real-world data - which carry much more weight than the mere hypotheses of the climate alarmists - reveal there has been no change in this storm statistic over this period. Hence, at least one of their two claims must be wrong.

So which hypothesis do we assign to the ash-heap of history? Most people would probably pick the one about increasing numbers of storms. However, we like to think it could as well be the more basic claim that the planet has warmed substantially over the last six and a half decades; for as we have noted in a number of our year 2000 Editorials - 15 June, 1 July, 15 July and 2 August - and as we note each week in our "Temperature Record of the Week" feature, we feel much evidence suggests There Has Been No Global Warming for the Past 70 Years.

Actually, we believe both of the climate-alarmist claims are wrong, although the results of this paper only allow us to state that one is. But, hey, it's a start. And we'll take it.