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Kerry Emanuel

Professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT

Expertise: Tropical Climate, Hurricanes

Here’s what we know about how climate change impacts hurricanes – and what we don’t

The uncertainty surrounding how hurricane frequency could change as the climate warms has been brought up in claims seeking to undermine climate change’s impact on hurricanes. These claims are examples of straw man arguments: noting that climate change may not lead to a higher number of hurricanes in the future does not mean that climate change has had – or will have – no impact on hurricanes at all.

PragerU video on climate change repeats a range of misleading claims by Steven Koonin

“The author of this video, Dr. Steven Koonin, says he is following the scientific reports published by the UN and US government, but by subtly changing wording and choosing not to mention important context this video is very likely to mislead readers.
This style of selective wording and lack of context, an approach called “cherry picking”, applies to every one of Dr. Koonin’s scientific comments.”

Wall Street Journal article repeats multiple incorrect and misleading claims made in Steven Koonin’s new book ’Unsettled’

Scientists who reviewed the article found that it builds on a collection of misleading and false claims. For instance, Koonin states that “Greenland’s ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly today than it was eighty years ago”. Contrary to the claim, scientific studies using airborne and satellite altimetry observations show considerable thinning has occurred along the margin of the Greenland ice sheet since 2003.

Video promoted by John Stossel for Earth Day relies on incorrect and misleading claims about climate change

“This video is misleading in so many ways it’s hard to know where to begin. For a start there’s a repeated assertion that climate “alarmists” won’t enter debate on climate change, but there are many examples of renowned climate scientists such as Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann and David Karoly entering into debates with climate change denialists. Many scientists have found such debates to be unhelpful as they give the false impression of balance despite there being broad consensus among climate scientists…”

Article by Michael Shellenberger mixes accurate and inaccurate claims in support of a misleading and overly simplistic argumentation about climate change

“Shellenberger’s article promoting his new book “Apocalypse Never” includes a mix of accurate, misleading, and patently false statements. While it is useful to push back against claims that climate change will lead to the end of the world or human extinction, to do so by inaccurately downplaying real climate risks is deeply problematic and counterproductive.”

USA Today op-ed ignores evidence to claim climate change had no role in Hurricane Florence

This op-ed in USA Today makes the claim that Hurricane Florence has no appreciable contribution from human-caused climate change.
Scientists who reviewed the article found that it ignores the evidence for trends in tropical cyclone behavior, including slower movement speed and more intense rainfall. Additionally, sea level rise raised the storm surge of the landfalling tropical cyclone above the level it would have reached a century ago. The article cherry-picks data in misleading way to claim that recent storms are no different from past tropical cyclones…

National Geographic accurately covers research pointing to slower-moving hurricanes

“This is an important topic and the article explains the new research findings clearly… Highlighting how this result about slowing storms is consistent across two studies that employ very different methodologies further helps convey to the public how we try to use multiple lines of evidence to understand how our world works and how it may chance in the future.”

Analysis of "…in many ways global warming will be a good thing"

“This article presents a highly biased view of global warming, only presenting the “positive” aspects of it. As the author is criticizing media doing the opposite (always showing the bad side of climate change) it is a shame the author didn’t present a balanced view here.”