“Temperatures have been rising and theory and computer modeling suggest an intensity in a warmer world.” -John Schwartz

Is there a relationship between climate change and the frequency and ferocity of hurricanes? Katharine Hayhoe a climate scientist at the Texas Tech University says that hurricanes are not necessarily caused by climate change, but are certainly being affected by them. Global warming does not change the no of hurricanes, but it does contribute to the intensification of hurricanes. A key ingredient in the formation of a hurricane is the existence of warm waters, which creates bigger and stronger hurricanes. Also, more moisture in the air means the intensity of rain increases and causes flooding which has the potential to become a bigger problem than storm surge.

The recent hurricane activity appears to be unprecedented, but there have been others in the past when two or three hurricanes have been active. But these weren’t noticeable simply because they didn’t reach land. “Computer models that climate scientists use tell us is that bigger storms are going to get bigger.” ( Joyce, 2017). Simply put, heat creates water vapor. When water vapor rises, it creates a convection leading to circulating winds. “The hotter the oceans, the more fuel you will get for the hurricane.” (Joyce).

Scientists say that Harvey and Irma would have been big storms before the atmosphere and oceans started warming dramatically. But now storms are apt to grow bigger. That’s because the oceans and atmosphere are, on average, warmer now than they used to be. And heat is the fuel that takes basic storms and supercharges them.


Schwartz, John. Relationship Between Hurricanes and Climate Change, 2017. https://national.ms/2vvvDFB

Joyce, Christopher. Hurricanes are Sweeping the Atlantic. What’s the Role of Climate Change? National Public Radio, 2017

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