In Environmental Science & Technology, Paul Thacker interviews Judith Curry, climatologist and coauthor of a recent paper in Science on the connection between warming oceans and hurricanes. In her work she found — as did two similar papers published in peer-reviewed journals recently — that hurricane intensity is increasing, and it’s linked to increasing ocean temperatures, and this is true across the globe. She says:

… you can’t use hurricanes to prove that there is global warming. What you can do is show an unambiguous link between the increase in hurricane intensity and the warming sea surface temperatures. And if you look for why the sea surface temperatures are warming since the 1970s, you don’t have any explanation other than greenhouse warming.

In totally unrelated news, Hurricane Wilma is the most powerful storm in Atlantic history — it went from fairly mild to the strongest effing storm ever in 18 hours, blowing away the previous record for speed of intensification.

… Keith Blackwell, hurricane researcher at the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Weather Research Center in Mobile … said Wilma’s rapid intensification was caused by the warm waters of the northwest Caribbean, which have spawned other extremely powerful storms.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

"There are so many astounding things about this season," Blackwell said.


Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.