NOAA: No link between hurricane activity and man-made climate change

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 every year. The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Based on a 30-year climate period from 1991-2020, an average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The first named storm typically forms in mid to late June, the first hurricane tends to form in early to mid-August, and the first major hurricane forms in late August or early September. 

The mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to provide daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration, and the supporting of marine commerce.  Detecting man-made influence on Atlantic hurricane activity is difficult to detect, according to NOAA. Therefore, the organization cannot yet say with confidence whether there is any detectable human influence on past Atlantic hurricane activity, and this is particularly the case for any greenhouse gas-induced changes. A temporary period of decreasing man-made aerosol emissions likely contributed, along with natural variability, to increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1980, although its relative contribution remains uncertain. 

The bottom line, according to NOAA, is they cannot confidently detect a trend today in observed Atlantic hurricane activity due to man-made, or greenhouse gas-driven, climate change. Some human influence may be present, though still below the threshold for confident detection. 

Through research, scientists with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) have concluded that it is premature to attribute past changes in hurricane activity to greenhouse warming, although simulated hurricanes tend to be more intense in a warmer climate. Other climate changes related to greenhouse warming, such as increases in vertical wind shear over the Caribbean, lead to fewer yet more intense hurricanes in the GFDL model projections for the late 21st Century. Further investigation with more advanced models is needed for more confident projections of future hurricane activity in a warming climate.