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Climate Change & Tropical Systems

The last few years, a lot of conversation has been happening around the strength and number of hurricanes. Are the two related?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The last few years, a lot of conversation has been happening around the strength and number of hurricanes.

Are they getting stronger, and are we seeing more – and is it because of climate change?

Let’s take a look at the science.

There are two main questions when talking about climate change and hurricanes: will hurricanes become more frequent and will hurricanes become more intense as the climate warms.

The answers might surprise you.

Data suggests that yes - oceans and atmosphere continue to warm… but it also shows that wind shear will begin to increase.

That’s important because wind shear can rip hurricanes apart – or even keep them from forming in the first place.

And that suggests the frequency of weaker hurricanes could drop over time.

However, the storms that *do* form could be stronger thanks to those rising water temps.

That warm water is the perfect fuel to throttle these storms up.

But, we should say… the study of storms & climate change is complicated because of a lack of historical data.

It could likely take decades before we truly know the effects of climate change on hurricanes.