Just published research suggests that numbers of Atlantic hurricanes are rising, and part of this rise is due to global warming. Been plenty of arguments re warming and hurricanes (major tropical cyclones; known as typhoons here in Hong Kong and other parts of Pacific/S China Sea). But, has always seemed likely: hurricanes form over warm seas, so as seas warm, can expect more - and more intense - tropical cyclones.
Yes, also seen Johnny Chan, HK researcher, who has found that over the Pacific, it's important ot also consider winds/air currents that can destroy these storms before they form: and these too may increase with warming, cancelling out effect of warming seas. (Plus, tropical Pacific warmer than Atlantic; temps generally well above those needed to form trop cyclones, while Atlantic more typically around the threshold level, so warming there can have more of an effect. [this guff partly from answer I asked Prof Chan at a global warming workshop, plus from his talk]) But interesting, too, to see that S America (east coast) lately had it's first tropical storm.
And, just a few weeks ago, Arabian Peninsula hit by strongest cyclone since record keeping began there in 1945. For the latter: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070613070547.htm Also, even been computer models suggesting hurricane force storms just might impact the Mediterranean should warming continue. Back to the hurricane research; info on Scientific American site includes:
Using records dating back to 1855, hurricane researchers say they have uncovered an ongoing rise in the number of Atlantic hurricanes that tracks the increase in sea surface temperature related to climate change. Critics of such a link argue that this trend is merely because of better observations since the dawn of the satellite era in the 1970s. But the authors of the new study say the conclusion is hard to dodge.
"Even if we take the extreme of these error estimates, we are left with a significant trend since 1890 and a significant trend in major hurricanes starting anytime before 1920," say atmospheric scientists Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and Peter Webster of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. ... The experts agree that natural variability is largely to blame for the relative intensity of various hurricanes, but Holland and Webster note that the locations of such storms have changed. "As more storms form near the equator, they are experiencing much better conditions for intensification and they are experiencing these conditions for a much longer period," the pair note. And that means more numerous and stronger hurricanes in the foreseeable future, whether the forecast is from a computer model or a meteorologist's instincts.
Stronger Link Found between Hurricanes and Global Warming A century's worth of records suggests that hurricanes are on the rise and a warming Atlantic is to blame