Last year's hurricane season sprouted an unusually high number of tropical storms — 15 in all. Some folks have blamed global climate change. But researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the increase is perfectly natural. Hurricanes follow a natural cycle, peaking every 15 to 40 years, then dropping back and becoming rarer again.

Other researchers disagree. They say rising global temperatures lead to warmer water, a key ingredient in forming hurricanes.

Few people doubt that the Earth's climate is growing warmer. But how much of that is just a natural cycle, and how much of it is caused by human activity? And what will all the effects of this change be? No one knows for sure. Meanwhile the debate, and research, go on.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

annie's picture
annie says:

this is a very nice report.

posted on Fri, 09/09/2005 - 3:19pm
Laura's picture
Laura says:

Global warming is likely to increase the severity of tropical storms, especially since things literally "add up" in the sea, consider rogue waves for example. You can't say global warming caused Katrina, but you can say that the increased ocean temperatures and lower predictability of weather patterns added to it. And eventually the storms WILL be caused by it. In addition, major ocean currents of today will likely shift as a result, changing the lives of everything (including humans) that travels using those currents. If it occurs quickly, will evolution or adaptability have time??? Do you really want to see?

posted on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 7:41pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Oceans have actually gotten cooler in recent years.

Rogue waves and weather are completely unrelated phenomena.

If global warming definitely will cause more storms, and/or more severe storms, then why were hurricanes so rare during the warmest years of the late '90s / early '00s?

posted on Sat, 03/17/2007 - 10:09pm
Lily's picture
Lily says:

If global warming is causing hurricanes, shouldn't we learn from Katrina?!??!!!!!

posted on Sun, 03/18/2007 - 9:41am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Im glad someone said this, because as most people in the scientific community know that we humans are in a losing battle with time (that sort-of dimension). We that are here now are probably not going to be around when enough evidence is compiled to determine if the temps. of Earth are rising now because of greenhouse gasses or a natural cycle. So as the Scientific Process goes we will have to continue to hypothesize and test why the Earths climate has recently (100 years or so) risen in average tempurature.

posted on Mon, 04/09/2007 - 11:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Thank you for posting this. Everyone thinks its Global Warming thats making these hurricanes ocur. its a natural cycle. as the sun gets older, (which its doing right now) it gets hotter which also means that the ocean temperatures are going to get hotter. its not only the humans fault. its also a natural process!!!!!!!!!

posted on Wed, 04/25/2007 - 8:39pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

This morning, I read a New York Times article on hurricanes and global warming ("Will warming lead to a rise in hurricanes?"). It began:

"When people worry about the effects of global warming, they worry more about hurricanes than anything else. In surveys, almost three-quarters of Americans say there will be more and stronger hurricanes in a warming world. By contrast, fewer than one-quarter worry about increased coastal flooding.

But as far as the scientific consensus is concerned, people have things just about backward.

There is no doubt that as the world warms, seas will rise, increasing the flood risk, simply because warmer water occupies more space. (And if the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets melt, the rise will be far greater.)

It seems similarly logical that as the world warms, hurricanes will be more frequent or more powerful or both. After all, they draw their strength from warm ocean waters. But while many scientists hold this view, there is far less consensus, in part because of new findings on other factors that may work against stronger, more frequent storms."

If you're interested in the debate about whether or not global warming is affecting the frequency and severity of tropical storms, give it a read.

posted on Tue, 05/29/2007 - 2:37pm
Frank's picture
Frank says:

Global warming is nothing but a multi-million dollar industry. The scientists do say it is real, but almost only to get extra funding. A scientist saying global warming is real just about always equals more money for his department. Hurricanes follow a patter (as stated in the article) and the temp. of the water has actually been going down over the past few years. Besides, co2 is such a minor componant of greenhouse gasses, it has little to no effect. If you are really worried about greenhouse gas, clouds are what you should be looking at. What causes more clouds is what is going to really make greenhouse gas have a larger effect on temp. gain.

posted on Mon, 11/05/2007 - 1:47pm
Global Warming Facts's picture

Global warming is certainly a global issue that needs a global solution. The Global warming occurs due to rise in the temperature around the earths atmosphere. A hurricane is an powerful tropical storm. Tropical storms form over warm tropical oceans during periods when local sea surface temperatures are over 26.5 °C [80 °F]. Under these conditions, evaporation from the ocean surface generates very high humidity in the atmosphere, which in turn generates thunderstorms.

posted on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:50am

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