CBS Scares Viewers With Predictions of Climate Change Causing West Coast Hurricanes

Even as NBC’s Today show recently reported that climate change would actually cause fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic during the 2018 season, on Saturday, CBS This Morning warned viewers that warming ocean temperatures could potentially lead to hurricanes in the Pacific hitting the coast of California.

“Hurricanes are well known in the Atlantic and in the Caribbean, but scientists in California are concerned that changing climate conditions could soon bring hurricanes to the west coast,” proclaimed fill-in co-host Elaine Quijano as she introduced the segment. The headline on-screen blared: “Gathering Storms? Warmer Oceans Increase Risk of West Coast Hurricanes.”

 

 

Correspondent Jamie Yuccas began her report by invoking images of deadly east coast storms: “Irma, Harvey, and Katrina are among the hurricanes that have ravaged the east coast and Gulf of Mexico. But here in California, hurricanes are virtually unheard of.” She acknowledged hurricanes that regularly form in the Pacific, but pointed out that such storms “usually don’t make it past Baja California,” in Mexico, and that “only one managed to reach as far as San Diego in 1858.”  

Sounding the alarm, Yuccas continued: “However, there’s now the potential this rare event could strike the San Diego area again.” Scientist Art Miller, a researcher for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, fretted: “It could happen, especially if the ocean temperatures continue to stay in this anomalously warm state.”

Yuccas noted: “Scientists at the Scripps Pier have been recording historic temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, as high as 79.5 degrees. That’s about ten degrees above normal.” Miller argued: “That potentially increases the likelihood that a hurricane might track just a little bit further north than it would have.”

After Yuccas concluded her report, co-host Anthony Mason worried: “Those rising ocean temperatures are startling.” Quijano agreed: “Startling. And when you think about ten degrees difference, as she pointed out, you think about it’s been a year since Hurricane Harvey. It was this time last year, right? And it was warm ocean waters fueling that as well.”

In August of 2017, CBS repeatedly blamed climate change for causing Hurricane Harvey and intensifying it’s devastation in Texas. In November of that year, Mason, while serving as temporary anchor for CBS Evening News, bemoaned that a lack of environmental activism from the Trump administration meant “saving the world has been harder.”

It’s one thing to claim climate change as the cause when a severe weather event actually occurs, it’s quite another to preemptively argue that any potential future storms would be the result of global warming.

Here is a full transcript of the August 18 report:

8:30 AM ET

ELAINE QUIJANO: Welcome back to CBS This Morning: Saturday. Hurricanes are well known in the Atlantic and in the Caribbean, but scientists in California are concerned that changing climate conditions could soon bring hurricanes to the west coast. Jamie Yuccas has the story.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINES: Gathering Storms? Warmer Oceans Increase Risk of West Coast Hurricanes]

JAMIE YUCCAS: Irma, Harvey, and Katrina are among the hurricanes that have ravaged the east coast and Gulf of Mexico. But here in California, hurricanes are virtually unheard of.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [CALIFORNIA RESIDENT]: What do you do in the case of a hurricane? I don't know. I can’t imagine that type of devastation hitting the shores here.

YUCCAS: Hurricanes that form in the eastern Pacific Ocean usually don’t make it past Baja California. Only one managed to reach as far as San Diego in 1858. However, there’s now the potential this rare event could strike the San Diego area again. Oceanographer Art Miller.

ART MILLER [RESEARCHER, SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY]: It could happen, especially if the ocean temperatures continue to stay in this anomalously warm state.

YUCCAS: Scientists at the Scripps Pier have been recording historic temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, as high as 79.5 degrees. That’s about ten degrees above normal. What has the temperature gauge showed you over the last week or so?

CLARISSA ANDERSON [EXEC. DIR., SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COASTAL OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEM]: It’s shown that we have been right at or outside the record temperatures that were already set back in the ’30s, so we know that we are experiencing a very extreme temperature event.

MILLER: That potentially increases the likelihood that a hurricane might track just a little bit further north than it would have.

YUCCAS: Even though California has been battle-tested by fires, mud slides, and earthquakes,  the widespread impact of a hurricane on lives and property is still unknown.

MILLER: The risk associated with those high-wind events might be surprising since we really haven't been tested for that type of natural phenomenon.

YUCCAS: The National Weather Service has found even higher temperatures even in other parts of the Pacific. That’s because the ocean absorbs more heat than it does on the land. Also, the normal southern California winds have not been picking up, which would allow cooler waters to mix in. Scientists believe the warming trend will continue. For CBS This Morning: Saturday, Jamie Yuccas, along the southern California coast.

ANTHONY MASON: Those rising ocean temperatures are startling.

QUIJANO: Startling. And when you think about ten degrees difference, as she pointed out, you think about it’s been a year since Hurricane Harvey. It was this time last year, right? And it was warm ocean waters fueling that as well.

DANA JACOBSON: Yeah, I mean, you also think all of the disasters, as Jamie mentioned, that they have to deal with already. That on top of it? I cannot imagine the destruction.

NB Daily Environment Global Warming Hurricanes CBS CBS This Morning Video Elaine Quijano Jamie Yuccas Anthony Mason

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