Tropical Cyclone Bingiza (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)
Steven Goddard, who runs the skeptical climate blog Real Science and has a background in geology and computer science, has spent thousands of hours studying bad weather events around the world.
He found that the weather was wilder and weirder in the past than it is today.
“People are claiming there are more disasters now,” Goddard said. “That’s crazy. The weather was terrible in the past, back when CO2 was below 350ppm."
1) Deadly hurricanes
The deadliest hurricane in U.S. history was not hurricane Katrina, but rather one that hit Galveston, Tex., more than a century ago. The Texas State Historical Association notes that, upon the first signs of the hurricane in 1900, a local weather official drove “a horse-drawn cart around low areas warning people to leave.”
For many, the warning was too late.
“A storm wave… caused a sudden rise of 4 feet in water depth, and shortly afterward the entire city was underwater to a maximum depth of 15 feet.”
The hurricane destroyed most of the city, killing between 10,000 and 12,000.
“Hurricanes have not become more frequent or intense,” University of Alabama climate scientist John Christie told FoxNews.com. NOAA hurricane records back up that claim.
“The story on hurricanes is a mixed bag,” agrees Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist at the Union for Concerned Scientists.
2) Melting Glaciers
Glaciers are melting around the world, and many worry that will cause flooding. But the melting is not necessarily due to greenhouse gases. Goddard points to places where glaciers nearly vanished due to natural warming.
Glacier Bay, in Alaska, is one such place. The glacier was discovered in 1794, but the National Park Service reports that “by 1879… naturalist John Muir discovered that the ice had retreated more than 30 miles ... By 1916 it … had melted back 60 miles.”
3) Extreme Cold
It was so cold in New York City that the rivers around Manhattan froze over for five weeks -- in 1780, that is. British troops occupying the city at the time rolled cannons from Manhattan across the ice to Staten Island. They even built temporary fortifications on the ice, which stayed solid enough to support men on horseback until March 17.
Throughout the 1800s, the rivers froze over at least six times.