Global Warming, Hurricane Katrina and the National Science Foundation

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The National Science Foundation commissioned a study on Hurricane Katrina. The question being asked? Did global warming have any effect on the strength of the storm?

Here’s an excerpt of the release from the group that conducted the study, the National Center for Atmospheric Research:

Global warming does not guarantee that each year will set records for hurricanes, according to Trenberth. He notes that last year’s activity was related to very favorable upper-level winds as well as the extremely warm SSTs. Each year will bring ups and downs in tropical Atlantic SSTs due to natural variations, such as the presence or absence of El Nino, says Trenberth. However, he adds, the long-term ocean warming should raise the baseline of hurricane activity.

So a big deal? Sure, but don’t let this little piece of information be an errant reminder. Our planet is getting hotter, and while it could be a natural occurence, in all likelihood our behavior is making the Earth warmer than it should be right now. Yes, we’re spewing quite a bit of pollution into the air, and it has to have some sort of effect.

Don’t you think?