Global Warming and Hurricanes: A Connection?

For a wonderfully thorough scientific discussion of this important topic with lots of comments from the field, check out this post at RealClimate. Sample quote from comment and response #18:

The current Landsea/Trenberth/Emanuel discussion has been parsed by many to mean that Landsea claims that the number of hurricanes is constant, and Trenberth is claiming that their intensity should increase as global warming heats the ocean surface. Emanuel appears to have constructed a figure of merit that confirms both sides of the furious agreement.

However, there is a simple logical fallacy in this reconciliation. If we are talking about hurricanes and not just tropical disturbances, a certain proportion of tropical storms will move up to hurricane status if Trenberth is right, and that indeed is what Emanuel has shown. Therefore, at some point, either someone is eliding tropical storms into hurricanes or someone else is making a false statement.

[Response:True, and one must be careful to say whether one refers to hurricanes (with windspeed above a certain threshold) or just tropical cyclones. -rasmus]

Comment by Eli Rabett — 3 Sep 2005 @ 12:55 am

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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