WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

Hurricane scientists divided on global warming issue

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:15 AM GMT on April 27, 2006

Greetings from Monterey, California, where the 27th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society's conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology is taking place. It's been a feast of information for the 500-plus hurricane buffs here this week! I'm having trouble choosing between attending any of four simultaneous scientific talks offered--or catching up with old friends outside the sessions. Fortunately, the weather has been rather dreary, so I feel no guilt about being a troglodyte and hiding in dark rooms watching slides of awesome hurricanes of years gone by. There have been some fantastic talks, and I've learned an enormous amount of new information that I will share with you in blogs over the coming weeks.

There have been a number of sharp debates on the hurricane/global warming issue, and this controversy has really been difficult for the hurricane science community. There were some rather uncomfortable arguments between some of the scientists at talks on Monday, but a more civilized debate last night during a panel discussion featuring four of the experts who've published papers on the subject. The discussion lasted nearly three hours, and could have lasted much longer, as only about 20 of the 60 questions posed by the audience of over 300 were answered. I'll have a detailed look at what was said in a blog next week. Contrary to what one might expect from the headline of yesterday's CNN story from Reuters (Experts: Global warming behind 2005 hurricanes), hurricane experts at this conference are very divided about this issue. There is a lot of very confusing and conflicting information to consider, and the science is a long way from being settled.

My next blog from Monterey will be Friday morning, when I plan to discuss a radical hurricane modification proposal presented at the meeting. Is it feasible to tame the next Katrina with modern technology?

Jeff Masters

Climate Change

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.