Energy

Most Americans Now Believe Global Warming Is Making Hurricanes Worse

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

A new poll found 55 percent of American adults believe “the severity of recent hurricanes” is most likely due to global warming, despite the fact that experts overwhelmingly say there is not yet evidence of such a connection.

For years, politicians and environmental activists have connected extreme weather events to man-made warming, and the recent rash of hurricanes was no exception. The years of finger-pointing seem to be having an effect.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Thursday found 55 percent of Americans believe global warming made this year’s hurricane season worse, but 41 percent don’t buy that argument.

The new poll results indicate a 16 percent jump since 2005 in the percent who connect global warming to hurricanes. Voters were polled in 2005 about a month after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Scientists, on the other hand, are wary of linking global warming to hurricanes.

“There are some that very simplistically link hurricanes to global warming,” Chris Landsea, a National Hurricane Center meteorologist, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“To me, trying to make a direct link is not very appropriate,” Landsea said.

Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say there’s not enough evidence to link global warming to hurricane activity.

NOAA says it’s “premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming – have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.”

“[N]o robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin,” an IPCC 2013 report found.

The recent rash of hurricanes also comes after the U.S. went 12 years without a major storm making landfall. Before Hurricane Harvey, the last major hurricane to hit the U.S. was Wilma in 2005.

This Atlantic hurricane season has no doubt been an active one, with three major hurricanes making U.S. landfall in the past couple months.

Harvey hit southeast Texas in late August as a Category 4 storm, and was shortly followed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Irma made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm in early September. Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm more than one week ago, ravaging the island and leaving most of its residents without power or clean water.

It’s definitely been a hurricane season for the record books, but it’s not the worst Americans have ever seen.

So far, 2017 has seen 13 named storms. The 2005 hurricane season saw 28 named storms, and the 1933 season had 20 named storms, according to experts.

“Looking at the combined intensity and duration of the storms, the 1933 season is estimated to be the strongest on record dating back to 1851, and 2005 is the 2nd strongest,” Gerry Bell, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told TheDCNF.

It’s likely more hurricanes could form this season, mirroring the devastating 1933 season, Landsea said.

“We’re very likely to have some more storms this season,” he said.

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