Global warming: "Get it" while it's hot
Climate analysts Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. disagree with hurricane forecasters William Gray and Max Mayfield about what the causes are for higher ocean temperatures.
Everyone agrees that ocean temperatures have increased.
Gray and Mayfield have argued that temperatures have increased due to a long-term cycle known as the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation.
Trenberth and Shea, on the other hand, argue that global warming is not something to think about in the future, but that the destructive effects of global warming are being visited upon us right now.
Last year ... the temperature in the tropical Atlantic, where many hurricanes originate, was about 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1901-1970 average.
The year produced the most named storms on record, using up the alphabet of names, plus six Greek-letter storm designations.
It also brought the most intense Atlantic storm on record (Wilma), the most intense storm ever to hit the Gulf of Mexico (Rita), and the most destructive storm on record (Katrina). ...
In a study described in the Geophysical Research Letters, Trenberth and Shea said that the present rise in temperatures is only partly caused by the oscillation. ...
In fact, they said, about 0.8 degrees of the extra temperature appears to have been caused by global warming. The oscillation accounted for only about 0.2 degrees, they said. They attributed the remainder to the after-effects of the 2004-2005 El Nino warm-water current in the Pacific Ocean and year-to-year variability.
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