Institute Releases Latest Spin On Hurricanes

Washington, DC June 5, 1997 – The fears that hurricanes will increase in both number and intensity as a result of global warming are overblown according to a study released today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“As with so many other elements in the greenhouse debate, the theoretical and empirical evidence is not very supportive of this claim,” says Robert C. Balling, Jr., Director of the office of Climatology and Associate Professor of geography at Arizona State University and author of Calmer Weather: The Spin on Greenhouse Hurricanes.

The study, reviewed the scientific literature on the connection between climate change and hurricane activity and pointed to the following findings:

  • Atlantic hurricane activity from 1970 to 1987 was less that half of that observed from 1947 to 1969.
  • Warmer years actually produced fewer hurricanes than cooler years.
  • Although there has been great year-to-year variations in hurricane activity there is no significant evidence to link hemispheric temperatures to the variations.

    “Blaming hurricanes on recent warming is flawed on all fronts – not only is there little to no linkage between global warming and hurricane activity, but there seems to have been no warming in recent decades either,” Balling concludes. “There is little reason to expect and increase of hurricane activity throughout the upcoming century,” says the report. Furthermore, there is strong evidence from satellite measurement that the planet has actually cooled over the last two decades. According to the satellite data, over the period January 1979 to April 1997 there has been a statistically significant cooling of 0.09 degrees Celsius.

  • CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to free markets and limited government. For more information or copies of the report, call Greg Smith at (202) 331-1010.