Scientist says climate causes hurricanes

April 9, 2006

Kerry Emanuel, a prominent hurricane scientist, theorizes that warming and cooling cycles in the Atlantic Ocean may have little to do with hurricanes.

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is a widely held belief that decades-long cycles are responsible for storms. An active period ended in 1900, followed by relative calm until 1930, high activity until about 1970, and calm again until the recent period of higher-than-normal storm activity began in 1995, scientists say.

Emanuel, a respected hurricane researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, disagrees. The recent upswing in storms is largely due to human-induced climate change, he contends.

His calculations show a rise in activity to about 1950, followed by a decline to about 1980, then a rapid increase, the Houston Chronicle reported. This does not conform to temperature cycles, Emanuel says.

Arriving at solid answers is difficult because historical records are not as reliable as current measurements gathered from satellites, airplanes and sophisticated sea equipment.

One problem with the accepted theory is that -- despite the apparent relationship between oscillating sea temperatures, atmospheric changes and hurricane activity -- scientists have yet to find an explanation in nature for why such a cycle would exist, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Study: Are we shifting to fewer, weaker Atlantic hurricanes?

Related Stories

No major US hurricane landfalls in nine years

May 14, 2015

The United States hasn't experienced the landfall of a Category 3 or larger hurricane in nine years – a string of years that's likely to come along only once every 177 years, according to a new NASA study.

Recommended for you

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

How much for that Nobel prize in the window?

October 3, 2015

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

Drone market to hit $10 billion by 2024: experts

October 3, 2015

The market for military drones is expected to almost double by 2024 to beyond $10 billion (8.9 billion euros), according to a report published Friday by specialist defence publication IHS Jane's Intelligence Review.

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.