This has been a big year for the hurricane season, with our second category 4 hurricane hitting the US today. Hurricane season is supposed to end with September, but the NOAA predicts hurricanes and tropical storms well into November. So what’s with all the storms this year? Hurricanes are brought on by warmer than normal water temperatures and low wind shear. The big debate lies in why the waters are warmer than normal. Some scientists say it’s just normal weather cycles, but others believe the warmer waters are due to global warming. Simulation studies have shown that increased levels of atmospheric CO2 may not increase the number of hurricanes, but does increase the intensity of the hurricane.
I’m one of those people who straddle the fence on this debate. The earth does go through different weather cycles (the Ice Age is a good example), but we also can’t deny the influence of man on weather conditions. For instance we know that it’s always going to be hotter in cities then country areas. Pavement and smog all contribute in trapping heat. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist put two and two together.