skip to page content
Pick another story
Basic Story  |  Full Story  |  Activities

Hurricanes Could Be Caused by Warm Weather

photograph from Science and Technology story

Read the original story. Click the "LISTEN" button at the bottom of the page to hear the story. When you are done, click the "NEXT" button.

Original Title:
Link Between Global Warming and Hurricanes Unclear, Says Local Expert

This year is going to go down as one that's notable for the frequency and intensity of its hurricanes. There have been so many hurricanes, in fact, that the National Hurricane Center is in danger of running out of names.

The number of storms that reach Category 4 and 5 has nearly doubled over the past 35 years, according to a new study published in the journal Science. However the study stops short of linking the trend to global warming. Such a tie would require a longer historical period of study and a better understanding of hurricane dynamics, scientists say.

U.C. Davis atmospheric science professor Terry Nathan warns against attributing hurricanes Katrina and Rita directly to global warming. "Any particular event is very difficult to associate with global warming," Nathan said, though he agrees this is an unusual year.

Nathan says ocean temperatures are increasing and such increases do provide more energy for hurricanes to develop. He also says weather phenomena are prone to cycles, and we are entering a cycle in which we will see more frequent hurricanes.

Global warming is a phenomenon that most reputable scientists agree exists. There's also fairly general agreement that emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have greatly accelerated it. What is at question is how much of the warming is due to a natural cycle and how much is human-caused.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

Macromedia Flash Player site requirements