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NOAA research says it's premature to conclude that human activity--particularly greenhouse warming--has had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricanes
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Research so far on global warming and Atlantic hurricanes indicates:
Analysis of historical ship track records suggests that reporting coverage was likely too sparse to detect all tropical storms, and after adjusting for this bias, tropical storm counts have no significant trend over 1878-2006.
A regional downscaling atmospheric model reproduces the observed rise and year-to-year variability in hurricane counts (1980-2006) remarkably well when forced with observed sea surface temperatures and large-scale atmospheric conditions. According to this model, the ensemble late 21st century climate change projected by current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change global models implies reduced numbers of Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms, due mainly to increased vertical wind shear.
Downscaling experiments with several high resolution models indicate that despite a projected reduction in overall hurricane numbers, the number and intensity of the strongest hurricanes may increase