Brief Communications Arising

Nature 438, E11-E12 (22 December 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04477; Published online 21 December 2005

Meteorology: Hurricanes and global warming

Christopher W. Landsea1

Arising from: K. Emanuel Nature 436, 686–688 (2005); K. Emanuel reply.

Anthropogenic climate change has the potential for slightly increasing the intensity of tropical cyclones through warming of sea surface temperatures1. Emanuel2 has shown a striking and surprising association between sea surface temperatures and destructiveness by tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and western North Pacific basins. However, I question his analysis on the following grounds: it does not properly represent the observations described; the use of his Atlantic bias-removal scheme may not be warranted; and further investigation of a substantially longer time series for tropical cyclones affecting the continental United States does not show a tendency for increasing destructiveness. These factors indicate that instead of "unprecedented" tropical cyclone activity having occurred in recent years, hurricane intensity was equal or even greater during the last active period in the mid-twentieth century.

  1. NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
    Email: chris.landsea@noaa.gov

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