[* This title recycles an item from World Climate Report from November, 1995 (yes, we have been at this for a while). To wit:
“In an article intended to raise public consciousness about the threat of global warming, environmental writer Bill McKibben mentioned reports that, in northern Russia, “venomous snakes had appeared for the first time…” Well, venomous snakes will certainly get people’s attention. (This is reminiscent of the old college poster ploy—SEX SEX SEX! Now that I have your attention, my Western Civ textbook is for sale.)
Much to our dismay, McKibben never did expand on the global warming/snake connection…”]
Back in the end of May, we ran a piece titled “No Long-term Trend in Atlantic Hurricane Numbers” that described the results of research conducted by a team of researchers made up of Gabriele Villarini, Gabriel Vecchi, Thomas Knutson, and James Smith. The Villarini gang examined the observed Atlantic hurricane record and determined that the apparent upward trend in the annual number of hurricanes observed between 1878 and 2008 was being driven by an increase over time in the number of “shorties”—that is, hurricanes which lasted two or fewer days in duration. And, they determined that the increasing number of shorties was an artifact of the changing observational systems that had been in place over the years, rather than an actual secular change in the true number of events. In other words, after accounting for changes in observing practices and technologies, there was no long-term trend in Atlantic hurricane numbers (a result that is hard to blame global warming).
That finding was just another in a long string of similar papers that had been published in the scientific literature in recent years and covered here at World Climate Report on the topic of global warming and tropical cyclones.
Now, yet another paper has come to our attention that concludes that there has been no long-term trend in Atlantic hurricane numbers. Since readers may simply skip over our summary of this new paper, with a “yeah, yeah, I know that already” if we titled our piece something like “No Long-term Trend in Atlantic Hurricane Numbers—Even More Evidence”, we decided to spiced up the title a bit to try to grab your attention. If you’ve read this far, it must have worked, and we should apologize for the content to come—there is nothing sexy involved, just more evidence, as you may have guessed by now, that there has not been a long-term trend in Atlantic hurricane numbers. Sorry.