Medieval storm period

medieval storm

Also on NPR today, I heard a story about scientists reconstructing the record of hurricanes and severe storms over the last millenium or so.  It appears that the record year for hurricanes in 2005 (this season has been exceptionally quiet) is matched only by periods in the Middle Ages.

Aha, I thought!  The medieval warm period, the warm spell that AGW folks try to argue out existence.  If it did exist, it would raise the question of  “Is there anything special about the supposed warming of today?”

And if climate in the medieval period mirrors climate of today in some ways, including storm frequency, it would appear that like causes would be operating in both periods…and there certainly was not massive burning of fossil fuels in the Middle Ages.

Then this, emphasis added:

But the current period of intense hurricane activity differs from the medieval one in an important way, Mann says. Today’s storms are associated primarily with warmer ocean temperatures, rather than the influence of La Nina.

“We believe a substantial part of the reason for that anomalous recent warmth is in fact the human influence on climate,” Mann says.

There is still debate among scientists about the effect of warmer water on hurricanes. And skeptics say it could have been a coincidence that the medieval storms came during a period of warm water and La Nina conditions.

So what is it?  Warm water causes hurricanes, or it doesn’t?  If the medieval storms were during a period of warm waters, what warmed them?  Couldn’t the same thing warm them now?  If the water was warm then, and if the difference is that it’s warm now, isn’t that a contradiction?


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