With the Atlantic hurricane season beginning tomorrow,
forecasters expect another busy season.
This year's season comes on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, which
caused damage not seen since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Both storms
are among the worst on record in U.S. history, and both have been
touted as evidence of global warming.
Speaking in his second inaugural address, President Obama used
Hurricane Sandy and other storms in recent years as another reason
for policy to combat climate change.
"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but
none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling
drought and more powerful storms," the president declared.
Cal Beisner, founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall
Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, says hurricanes and
global warming are not connected, unless negatively.
"First of all, there has been no increase in either the
frequency or the intensity of hurricanes, or tornadoes for that
matter, in step with warming that we observed from the mid-1970s to
the late-1990s," he notes. "In fact, there was a decline in the
total energy index of hurricanes over that period and particularly
in the last 20 years as well."
Beisner adds that the likelihood of the frequency and intensity
of hurricanes is more likely to decline with warming than to
"Colder periods in the past have seen more storms and more
intense storms," the Cornwall Alliance founder observes. "Warmer
periods in the past have seen fewer and less intense storms, and
there is a simple reason for why that is so: Hurricanes are driven
in part by the temperature differential between the arctic region
and the equator. With global warming, most of the warming occurs in
the high latitudes toward the poles, and very little occurs around
As a result, Beisner says the temperature differential between
them is lower during warmer periods than it is during colder
periods, and with that smaller differential comes the generation of
fewer and less powerful storms.
Federal forecasters predict 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms this
season, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes, and 3 to 6 that
become major hurricanes.