From the Guardian - Global warming may not only be causing more destructive hurricanes, it could also be shaking the ground beneath our feet
"The current consensus holds that while a warmer world will not necessarily mean more hurricanes, it will see a rise in the frequency of the most powerful, and therefore more destructive, variety. This view was supported recently by Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane scientist at MIT, who pointed to Matthew as a likely sign of things to come.
Debate within the hurricane science community has in recent decades been almost as hostile as the storms themselves, with researchers, on occasion, even refusing to sit on the same panels at conferences. At the heart of this sometimes acrimonious dispute has been the validity of the Atlantic hurricane record and the robustness of the idea that hurricane activity had been broadly ratcheting up since the 1980s. Now, the weight of evidence looks to have come down on the side of a broad and significant increase in hurricane activity that is primarily driven by progressive warming of the climate. For many, the bottom line is the sea surface temperature, which is a major driver of hurricane activity and storm intensification. Last year saw the warmest sea temperatures on record, so it should not be a surprise. As Michael Mann, an atmospheric scientist at Penn State University, says: “It isn’t a coincidence that we’ve seen the strongest hurricane in both hemispheres [western and eastern] within the last year.” As the Atlantic continues to heat up, the trend is widely expected to be towards more powerful and wetter storms, so that Matthew might seem like pretty small beer when looked back on from the mid-century.
The full article can be read here.