Is Global Warming Affecting Hurricane Intensity?

By: Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email
By: Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email

Politicians are taking notice of global warming and are trying to do something about it.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said, "Scientists say climate change could endanger Florida's agricultural industry, cause violent weather patterns and jeopardize also our water supply. These are things that we must address."

Part of the violent weather patterns, some scientists say, will include more frequent and more powerful hurricanes for Florida, but a recent visit by a renowned hurricane scientist to FSU is calling into question the dire predictions. Even local students have varying opinions on the controversial issue.

Andrew Latto, Vice President of the North Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, said, "We can't just look at what's been happening in the last 10 years as 'Oh, this is the trend, oh storms are getting more intense, more frequent.'"

Others believe climate change is an issue, but the connection with hurricanes is weak so far.

FSU meteorology graduate student Jeremy Halland said, "Global warming is occurring, but I don't believe hurricane intensity is actually increasing with global warming as a response."

Despite some discrepancy in the science, Gov. Charlie Crist feels it is our obligation to curb climate change and any potential impact.

"Obviously, this is one of the most important issues facing our future; all of our future, and we have a responsibility to do everything, in my view to stem the tide of climate change."

But questions loom large as to how much we can do.

There are estimates of between a five and 12 percent increase in hurricane intensity if global warming occurs as predicted by climate models in the next 100 years.


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