Hurricane Katrina had hardly devastated the southern US city of New Orleans five years ago before a “hurricane war” broke out among US scientists. The alarmists, using the rhetoric of fiery sermons, warned that Katrina was only the beginning, and that we would soon see the advent of superstorms of unprecedented fury. Members of the more levelheaded camp were vehemently opposed to such predictions and insisted that there was no justification for such fears.
The dispute escalated when Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist and a lead author of the IPCC report, announced at a press conference at Harvard University that there was a clear relationship between global warming and the increased intensity of hurricane activity. Chris Landsea, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, was so furious over this unfounded prediction that he withdrew from his participation in the IPCC.
Now the two rivals have reached a surprising truce, and Landsea has largely prevailed with his reassuring assessment.
Last month Landsea, together with top US hurricane researchers, published a study that finally disproves the supposed link between hurricanes and global warming. The study concludes with the assessment that “tropical cyclone frequency is likely to either decrease or remain essentially the same.” Top wind speeds could increase somewhat, says Landsea, but the changes would “not be truly substantial.”