Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More on hurricanes

There is another new paper positing a link between climate change and Atlantic hurricanes. The study, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters next week (available on his website), uses a statistical test called Granger causality to evaluate whether an increase in global temperatures are forcing the increase Atlantic Ocean temperatures (and, in turn, hurricane intensity) or vice versa.

The analysis is on its own not conclusive proof. But it is an interesting addition to the growing literature on the subject. For a news summary, check here.

While the evidence for a climate change and hurricanes link has grown, the good news is that the Atlantic hurricane season has been relatively quiet thus far. Most of the forecasts have been downgraded. For example, William Gray’s forecast now calls for 15 named storms (three so far) and seven hurricanes. The next two months are the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Lest we self-obsessed North Americans forget, hurricanes do happen elsewhere, they just go by other names (typhoons in the N Pacific, cyclones in the S Pacific). The strongest typhoon in 50 years killed over 100 people in China last week. The Asian media has been mentioning a possible link between climate change and an in the strength of typhoons, but like here, the coverage tends to depend on the news source (a pro, a con).

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