UN’s climate link to hurricanes in doubt
Research by hurricane scientists may force the UN’s climate panel to reconsider its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms.
The benchmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that a worldwide increase in hurricane-force storms since 1970 was probably linked to global warming. The IPCC added that humanity could expect a big increase in such storms over the 21st century unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled.
The warning helped turn hurricanes into one of the most iconic threats of global warming, with politicians including Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, and Al Gore citing them as a growing threat to humanity.
However, the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, paints a very different picture. It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.
“We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said Chris Landsea, a lead scientist at the American government’s National Hurricane Center, who co-authored the report.