Increase in major hurricanes linked to warmer seas
From Live Science
The number of severe hurricanes has doubled worldwide even though the total number of hurricanes has dropped over the last 35 years, a new study finds.
The increase in major storms like Katrina coincides with a global increase of sea surface temperatures, which scientists say is an effect of global warming.
The possible relationship between global warming and hurricane strength has been a topic of controversy for years.
The new study supports another one released in July, in which climatologist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed for the first time that major storms in both the Atlantic and the Pacific since the 1970s have increased in duration and intensity by about 50 percent.
The new reearch finds that total number of hurricanes worldwide – except for in the North Atlantic – decreased during during the period from 1970 to 2004 compared to years prior.
Yet in the same period, the global number of intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled in number, jumping from 50 per five years during the 1970's to 90 per five years in the last decade.
This increase is most evident in the North Atlantic basin, where from 1975 to 1989 there were 16 such hurricanes, but from 1990-2004 there were 25, a 56 percent increase.