Hurricane Experts: Hurricanes not affected by global warming
If hurricanes again pound the United States this summer, their roar is likely to be accompanied by the din of another storm -- an angry debate among U.S. scientists over the impact of global warming.More...
Last season's $45 billion devastation, when 15 tropical storms spawned nine hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean, prompted climatologists to warn of a link to warming temperatures.
But hurricane experts say the unusual series of hurricanes, four of which slammed into Florida in a six-week period, was the result of a natural 15- to 40-year cycle in Atlantic cyclone activity.
After a lull between 1970 and the mid-1990s, the number of storms picked up dramatically from 1995 and higher-than-normal activity is expected for the next five to 30 years as a phenomenon known as the "Atlantic multidecadal mode" holds sway.
"Really, for the folks that are doing work on hurricanes, there isn't a debate (about global warming)," said Chris Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hurricane research division in Miami.