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Chris Mooney: What We Can and Can’t Say About Hurricane Dean

One of my favorite science writers, Chris Mooney has an interesting piece on Yahoo News today titles “What We Can and Can’t Say About Hurricane Dean.” The piece deals with what, if any, impact Global Warming might have on hurricanes. Considering the amount of hysteria vs. denial that’s running rampant on the Internet, it’s good to get a level headed view. Some keys from the article:

Here are the key records that Dean either broke or otherwise affects:


1. With a minimum central pressure of 906 millibars, Dean was the ninth most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin (for comparison Hurricane Katrina’s minimum pressure was 902 millibars).

2. That 906 millibar pressure reading was at landfall, making Dean the third most intense landfalling hurricane known in the Atlantic region and the first Category 5 storm at landfall since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

3. When measured by minimum pressure, six of the ten most intense Atlantic hurricanes–Wilma, Rita, Katrina, Mitch, Dean, and Ivan–have occurred in the past ten years.

Say what you want, but there sure seems to be more Category 5 hurricanes blowing around the Gulf these days than in years past.  Maybe not more storms, but certainly bigger ones. If you are at all interested in a real look at this topic, pick up Chris’s excellent book Storm World 


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