Storms are Already Gaining Strength

The evidence linking global warming and hurricanes is growing. Our warmer climate is warming ocean waters - and warm ocean waters fuel hurricanes. Scientists have long predicted that global warming will lead to stronger storms. Two questions remain: "When will stronger hurricanes arrive?" and "How much fiercer will they be?" Two new papers, Nature and Science, answer: "They're already here and "Quite a lot stronger."

But there is debate among the scientific community on if these two publications tell the entire story and the increased intensity so far is because of global warming. There is no question, however, that future warming will make tropical storms much more severe.

A recent MIT study revealed the destructive potential of tropical storms has doubled over the past three decades. It links the increasing ferocity with warmer sea surface temperatures - which in turn suggests a strong correlation to global warming. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled since the 1970's. For the thousands of people whose lives were disrupted and destroyed by Katrina, Andrew and many, many others - the evidence is hard to ignore.