Changes In Huricanes
The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm....
There has been a substantial increase in most measures of Atlantic hurricane activity since the early 1980s, the period during which high-quality satellite data are available.,,,, These include measures of intensity, frequency, and duration as well as the number of strongest (Category 4 and 5) storms. The ability to assess longer-term trends in hurricane activity is limited by the quality of available data. The historic record of Atlantic hurricanes dates back to the mid-1800s, and indicates other decades of high activity. However, there is considerable uncertainty in the record prior to the satellite era (early 1970s), and the further back in time one goes, the more uncertain the record becomes.,
The recent increases in activity are linked, in part, to higher sea surface temperatures in the region that Atlantic hurricanes form in and move through. Numerous factors have been shown to influence these local sea surface temperatures, including natural variability, human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases, and particulate pollution. Quantifying the relative contributions of natural and human-caused factors is an active focus of research. Some studies suggest that natural variability, which includes the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, is the dominant cause of the warming trend in the Atlantic since the 1970s,,, while others argue that human-caused heat-trapping gases and particulate pollution are more important.,
Figure 2.23: Observed Trends in Hurricane Power Dissipation
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