Climate Change

Global Warming

Is global warming causing an increase in severe hurricanes?

A 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study estimated that, because global warming is increasing ocean temperatures, hurricane frequency and intensity has increased by about 45 percent from just a few decades ago. In the 1970s, for example, the average hurricane season saw 10 hurricanes develop in the Caribbean area; by the 1990s, that number had increased to 18 annually. Hugh Willoughby, a researcher for Florida International University, has also asserted that hurricanes are getting stronger and more frequent; this has also become the position of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Among the exceptions to this viewpoint is Florida State University professor James O’Brien, who has asserted that data demonstrates no significant increase trend between 1850 and 2005.


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