Since Al Gore's schlockumentary "An Inconvenient Truth" came out in 2006, Americans have been deluged on almost a daily basis about the evils of a slowly warming planet.
On Thursday, USAToday.com surprisingly offered an upside to rising temperatures:
A new study out Wednesday in the British journal Nature finds that large, powerful North Atlantic ocean storms should actually become less frequent by the end of the century, due to climate change.
You mean there are actually positive benefits to fractional temperature increases every few hundred years?
Led by Matthias Zahn of the U.K.'s University of Reading, the study used climate models to show that these North Atlantic storms -- known as polar lows -- may decrease in frequency by as much as 50% by 2100.
"Our results provide a rare example of a climate change effect in which a type of extreme weather is likely to decrease, rather than increase." Zahn writes in the paper, which was co-authored by Hans von Storch of the University of Hamburg in Germany.
Britain's Guardian elaborated Thursday:
The results of his study may provide encouragement to oil and gas companies that currently consider drilling in the northern north Atlantic very risky, he says. "As the likelihood of hurricanes destroying oil rigs declines, drilling in the region may become a more attractive option." [...]
Assuming that greenhouse gas emissions rise rapidly in the future, the frequency of Arctic hurricanes could fall from an average of 36 per winter to about 17 by 2100, the model suggests. If emissions rise more slowly the number of hurricanes could fall to 23 per winter. [...]
Fewer polar storms could also mean less extreme weather in the UK, says Suzanne Gray at the Mesoscale Group at the University of Reading, who was not part of the research team. "Polar lows occasionally lead to heavy snowfall even over England. Motorways get blocked and people have to sleep in their cars overnight. So perhaps we won't be seeing so many of them in the future."
Global warming benefits. Somebody pinch me.