Study Finds Human Activity Producing More Atlantic Hurricaines

It turns out that those who blame the recent increase in the number of Atlantic hurricanes on global warming aren’t nuts. A study just published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society analyzed storms over the last century. It found that the increase since 1980 was due to climate change, and attributed 50% to 70% of the change in ocean warming to human activity.

From the BBC:

A new analysis of Atlantic hurricanes says their numbers have doubled over the last century.
The study says that warmer sea surface temperatures and changes in wind patterns caused by climate change are fuelling much of the increase.

Some researchers say hurricanes are cyclical and the increase is just a reflection of a natural pattern.

But the authors of this study say it is not just nature – they say the frequency has risen across the century.

Two-decade rise

Hurricanes are a spinning vortex of winds that swirl around an eye of low pressure.

Thunder clouds surround the edges of these storms and they can wreak devastation on people and property when they hit land – most famously in the case of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Scientific analyses in recent years suggest hurricane numbers have increased since the mid-1980s.

This new study, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in London, looks at the frequency of these storms from 1900 to the present and it says about twice as many form each year now compared to 100 years ago.

The authors say that man-made climate change, which has increased the temperature of the sea surface, is the major factor behind the increase in numbers.

“Over the period we’ve had natural variability in the frequency of storms, which has contributed less than 50% of the actual increase in our view,” said Dr Greg Holland from the United States National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, who authored the report.

“Approximately 60%, and possibly even 70% of what we are seeing in the last decade can be attributed directly to greenhouse warming,” he said.

Experts say that 2007 will be a very active season with nine hurricanes forecast, of which five are expected to be intense.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. burnside

    Reportage of Atlantic hurricanes doubled over the past century. Reportage.

    As the means of locating and tracking storms improved subsequent to the development of radar in the 1940s, more storms were found and tracked.

    Their finding resembles the Bear Stearns mark-to-model.

  2. Yves Smith


    Thanks for the comment. Maybe I need to relabel this post “Dubious statistics.”

  3. Yves Smith

    Thanks for providing the link. That will clear up the issue of whether the authors allowed for improved data integrity after the 1940s. It’s not practical for me to read it now while I am at sea, but I most certainly will give it a look when I am back next week.

  4. russell120

    Statistical anomalies or not. The Global Warming Game” is far safer hobby for the great powers to take up then the previously popular “Global Domination Game”.

Comments are closed.