Claim : Climate Change Is Destroying Cancun And Beaches Worldwide

The only way to get our society to truly change is to
frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe
emeritus professor Daniel Botkin

We need to get some broad based support,
to capture the public’s imagination…
So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
make simplified, dramatic statements
and make little mention of any doubts
Each of us has to decide what the right balance
is between being effective and being honest.

– Prof. Stephen Schneider,
Stanford Professor of Climatology,
lead author of many IPCC reports

We’ve got to ride this global warming issue.
Even if the theory of global warming is wrong,
we will be doing the right thing in terms of
economic and environmental policy.

– Timothy Wirth,
President of the UN Foundation


Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at , December 3, 4.57.18 PM

A fortune made of sand: How climate change is destroying Cancun… | GlobalPost

Cancun’s perfect tropical beach is its principal selling point. Made from the remains of long-dead corals, it famously stays cool even on the most scorching days.

Yet the only reason the resort still has a beach is thanks to a $70 million project in 2010 to replenish it by dredging up more than 1 billion gallons of sand from the seabed.

That was a response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which overnight swept away eight miles of Cancun’s prime beach.

Although scientists are wary of attributing specific weather events to climate change, most agree that warming seas in the Caribbean have already made devastating hurricanes like Wilma — not to mention Katrina and Sandy which respectively ravaged New Orleans and New York — increasingly frequent.



CANCUN was conceptualised in the late 1960s by a government-backed consortium of Mexican bankers who were looking for a big tourism investment.


There were barely any human settlements, just marshes, mangroves and, the incredible dune-backed beaches, separated from the mainland by two narrow canals that opened on to a huge emerald lagoon system.


The first hotels opened in 1974 and the international airport was inaugurated with 2,600m of runway and capacity for wide-body jets. And in they came.


Cancun, a young resort, lost its beachy charms early in life thanks to the removal of its dunes and grasses, which play an integral role in keeping the sand from drifting into the ocean. Add to this the weight of hotel buildings on what is a very narrow sand bar, structures that additionally compound the problem by blocking natural wind flow from sea to lagoon, and you have a complex recipe for beaches that leave with the tide – especially during hurricane season.

All the beaches in Cancun are “man made”. Many millions of dollars have been and are being spent pouring sand from somewhere else on the beaches in front of most of the hotels from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen.

Claims that “Climate Change” is causing Cancun’s “man made” beaches to disappear are alarmist and opportunistic.



Claim :

“Most agree that warming seas in the Caribbean have already made devastating hurricanes like Wilma — not to mention Katrina and Sandy which respectively ravaged New Orleans and New York — increasingly frequent.”

“Mexico cannot afford to lose Cancun. Yet that may be exactly what will happen as more, stronger hurricanes, generated by warming seas, batter the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Reality :

No Major Atlantic Hurricane Strike For A Record 8 Years (category 3-5)  

Dr Roger Pielke Jr has updated his famous hurricane drought to the start of the 2014 season. Concluding that by June 2014 it would have been a record 3,142 days or 8.6 years since the US has been hit by a Cat 3 or greater hurricane.

The last such hurricane was Wilma on October 24th, 2005.

Hurricanes are actually getting not worse, but fewer.

Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog: Graphs of the Day: Major US Hurricane Drought Continues

Data here.

The US good luck with respect to hurricane landfalls — yes, good luck — continues. The graph below shows total US hurricane landfalls 1900 through 2013.


The five-year period ending 2013 has seen 2 hurricane landfalls. That is a record low since 1900. Two other five-year periods have seen 3 landfalls (years ending in 1984 and 1994). Prior to 1970 the fewest landfalls over a five-year period was 6. From 1940 to 1957, every 5-year period had more than 10 hurricane landfalls (1904-1920 was almost as active).

The red line in the graph above shows a decrease in the number of US landfalls of more than 25% since (which given variability, may just be an artifact and not reflecting a secular change). There is no evidence to support more or more intense US hurricanes. The data actually suggests much the opposite.

If you are interested in a global perspective, Ryan Maue keeps excellent data. Here is his latest graph on global ACE (accumulated cyclone energy, an overall measure of storm intensity).


To date 2013 is at 73% of the global average and the North Atlantic is at 30%. We’ll post up our updated data for global landfalls through 2013 before the end of the calendar year.


On Extreme Weather Events – Roger Pielke Jr, December 10, 2012 :

…After adjusting for patterns of development, over the long term there is no climate change signal … of increasing damage from extreme events either globally or in particular regions.


Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog: Graph of the Day: Global Weather Disasters and GDP


ATLANTIC hurricanes are actually getting not worse, but fewer. Grover Cleveland, who was president between 1885 and 1889, had 27 major hurricanes during his presidency. Only three major hurricanes have made landfall during Obama’s tenure thus far.




Claim :

“Meanwhile, the Caribbean itself is slowly rising, around 3 millimeters a year, thanks to ice melting at the poles and in mountain ranges from the Andes to the Himalayas.”

Reality :

New Study shows, since 2004, global mean sea level rise has in fact ‘decelerated’ and not ‘accelerated’ despite rising CO2

The total amount of Sea Level Rise attributed to Cancun, under a global mean rate of 3.2mm/yr, from 1974 to present, would have been around 124mm or 12cm. Perhaps not enough to add to Cancun’s overnight ‘catastrophic climate change’ erosion claims.

It would appear, past and future hurricanes would claim majority responsibility for any erosion taking place on the artificial beaches of Cancun.


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