Every time there is a major hurricane landfall WAPO and CNN rush forward experts to blame global warming. Curry provides and exhaustive look at what is known and what is not. What is not known is what is most important.
Attribution of any storm or its intensity is speculative nonsense. We do not have the data to claim to know.
It is temping to link warmer water to more intense storms, but that’s not how it works. Coriolis effect has a large impact on intensity and the further north a storm is over warm water, the more intense we can expect it to be, if we ignore wind shear, which we can’t.
In short, there are too many variables to project, so we have to rely on trends. But we don’t have the data for trends.
We have satellite data only since 1989. Prior to that, unless a ship or aircraft stumbled on a storm in the open ocean, we didn’t know it was there. Storms cycle in intensity, and if the ship or plane missed a peak, we didn’t know it happened. So, trends are only useful for a bit over 30 years and many of the natural cycles are longer than that.
To the extent we can deduce trends, it appears that the number of tropical cyclones and the total energy in them is declining significantly, but there is a possible slight increase in the number of severe storms. The magnitude of that increase is very small, on the order of one added CAT4/5 per five years. Everything else is lost in the natural variability.