Study: Global Warming Gives Hurricanes Extra Wallop

| Tue Sep. 12, 2006 1:02 PM EDT

hurricane.jpg

Well, then. Scientists have found evidence that global warming is heating the ocean and giving extra wallop to violent hurricanes (San Francisco Chronicle). Since 1906, sea-surface temperatures have warmed by between 0.6 and 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit -- in the tropical parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans where hurricanes get their start, and there's been a surge in big storms since the early 1990s.

The researchers, at Lawrence Livermore lab in California, tried to figure out what caused the hike in ocean temperatures by running a bunch of different computer models based on possible single causes. The best pointed to greenhouse gases.

Skeptics--not just your Flat-Earthers but bona fide hurricane experts--aren't persuaded. But the lead author of the new study says, "the models that we've used to understand the causes of [ocean warming] in these hurricane formation regions predict that the oceans are going to get a lot warmer over the 21st century. That causes some concern."

PLUS: Check out this graph, from ClearTheAir.org, tracking ocean temperature and hurricane strength over the past 30 years. (Click on the image.) (Thanks to reader Pete Altman.)

hurr.jpg