Reality Check: Hurricanes are not getting stronger

  • Date: 08/06/11

One of the often quoted side-effects of global warming is an in- crease in the frequency and intensity of severe weather events such as hurricanes. This hypothesis is tested here against hurricane data from the National Hurricane Center, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and also the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

Data for the years 1999-2009 are analysed and tested against long term data for the North Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific, Northern and Southern Indian oceans. It is concluded that Hurricane intensity and frequency is significantly higher in this period in the North Atlantic. However in the Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific, Northern and Southern Indian oceans, there is no evidence of signifi- cant change.Taken together, there appears to be no significant difference in either frequency or intensity of hurricanes globally. Repeating the analysis for 1999-2007 gives the same result and this conflicts with statements made in the IPCC 2007 report.

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