Hurricane Season is Here, and Climate is Packing on the Power

May 26, 2017

I have been fortunate, several times,  to interview Kerry Emanuel of MIT, probably the foremost hurricane expert in the world, above.  In a nutshell, here’s what he tells me.

Long term trends for hurricanes are not completely clear, but models indicate that stronger storms could be an outcome of continued climate change.  Very early indications are that the number of stronger storms, Category 3 and higher, are increasing in the Atlantic, and possibly in the Pacific as well.


This year, above average predictions – watch for possible El Nino – which might depress hurricanes, but brings a whole raft of other concerns.


The Atlantic hurricane season will likely churn out an above-average 11 to 17 named storms, in part due to fading odds than an El Nino will form in the Pacific.

Of storms that emerge during the six-month season that begins June 1, five to nine will reach hurricane strength with winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. Two to four may become major systems reaching Category 3 or stronger on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

The Earth’s most powerful storms can threaten lives, destroy property and move global energy and agricultural markets. An estimated $28.3 trillion worth of homes, businesses and infrastructure is vulnerable to hurricane strikes in the 18 U.S. Atlantic coastal states, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York.

“There is a potential for a lot of Atlantic storm activity this year, ” Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator, said on a conference call. “We cannot stop hurricanes but we can prepare for them.”

The U.S. hasn’t been struck by a major system since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. In September, Hurricane Matthew killed at least 585 people, most of them on Haiti, making it the deadliest storm since Wilma. Matthew went on to graze the U.S. East Coast, causing widespread flooding across the South before making landfall in South Carolina.

In an average season, the Atlantic spins off 12 storm systems. A year ago, the U.S. predicted 10 to 16 would form while the season eventually saw 15 storms.



2 Responses to “Hurricane Season is Here, and Climate is Packing on the Power”

  1. What are your thoughts in regards to these conclusions (rarely discussed)?

    • funslinger62 Says:

      Be prepared. gingerbaker may accuse you of being swindled by the myth. According to her, the opinion that food agriculture is a major contributor to GHG emissions is a myth.

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