THE United States coastline has been calm so far this hurricane season, just as it has been over the last decade. Since 2005, the year of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the country has been in a hurricane “drought,” with no major hurricane (Category 3 or above, meaning winds above 110 miles per hour) making landfall. The nation’s most hurricane-prone regions, the Southeast and Gulf Coasts, have been eerily quiet.
Even so, climate scientists like me believe that human-induced climate change will strengthen hurricanes and lead to worse disasters. We know that significant global warming, over a degree and a half Fahrenheit, has already occurred since preindustrial days. So where, you might ask, are the powerful hurricanes?
They’re coming, if we don’t take more aggressive action to slow climate change.
What we have seen recently is consistent with our scientific understanding of hurricanes and climate. That knowledge is far from perfect, but the prediction of stronger future hurricanes is not contradicted by the data thus far.