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3/23/2006 8:52:26 PM

Updated 03/22/06

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2005 Hurricane Season Recap

More Hot Air
Global Warming and Hurricanes


See Executive Summary | See Full Report | PDF Version

     The summer of 2005 was a record-breaker in many ways. Hurricane Katrina caused widespread damage on the Gulf Coast and Rita soon followed. Journalists looked for the cause and some pointed to global warming as a major factor in the latest crop of powerful storms. The nations own hurricane experts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration denied any link between global warming and more powerful storms..

Numbers and Facts:

  • Of the 11 most intense hurricanes on record from 1851-2004, 10 are from before 1990. (NOAA Chart)

  • In 2000 dollars, seven of the 10 most expensive hurricanes of the 20th Century occurred before 1992.

  • According to NOAA, the heightened period of hurricane activity began in 1995 and is expected to continue for the next decade or perhaps longer.

  • NOAA ties this increased activity to natural occurring cycles in tropical climate patterns near the equator. This tropical multi-decadal signal, typically lasts 20 to 30 years.

  • The key factor in NOAAs prediction of the hurricane season is the cycle between El Nino (El Nino/Southern Oscillation) and La Nina events.

  • According to NOAA, as hurricane activity has increased in the Atlantic, activity has decreased exponentially in the Pacific: This outlook reflects the ongoing multi-decadal signal that has been acting to suppress East Pacific hurricane activity since 1995.

Relevant Studies:

  • Katrina and the Environment, Steven Hayward, American Enterprise Institute,

  • Scientists Recent Comments on Global Warming and Hurricanes, Center for Science and Public Policy

  • Climate Change and the Insurance Industry, A Critical Look at the Ceres Report, Center for Science and Public Policy

  • Global Warming and Hurricanes: Still No Connection, Pat Michaels, Tech Central Station. Commentary on the Peter Webster study at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • NOAA Attributes Recent Increase In Hurricane Activity To Naturally Occurring Multi-Decadal Climate Variability, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.


  • Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute, 202-789-5200,

  • Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute, 202-331-1010,

  • Steven Hayward, F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, 202-862-5882,


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