Global Warming and the Burmese Cyclone

In his excellent blog, Roger Pielke, Jr., notes that “On NPR’s Fresh Air earlier this week, Al Gore suggests that Typhoon Nargis, which may have killed 100,000 people in Myanmar, is linked to greenhouse gas emissions, or does he? He said ‘we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.’”

So I checked the sea surface temperature (SST) “anomalies” (that is, differences in temperature from the long-term average) along the track of Cyclone Nargis to see if SST might have been unusually warm from April 28th to May 3rd (when it hit Burma) of this year compared to last year. Comparing the SST anomalies from NOAA for April 28, May 1, and May 5 of 2008 against April 28, May 1, May 3, and May 7 of 2007, SSTs along the track of Cyclone Nargis don’t look that much different from last year. And for April 30, May 3, and May 7 of 2005, the Bay of Bengal seems to have been noticeably warmer.

Granted, this is based on a cursory eye-ball view of the maps using a non-continuous data set. I await more detailed analysis with bated breath.