The Aug. 12 article headlined, “Stronger hurricanes becoming the norm,” perpetuates a false belief that stronger hurricanes are becoming the norm.
They are not. At least not based on data collected by NOAA and other national agencies.
Hurricane (or cyclone) frequency is measured by the number of storms per year and by the number of major storms per year (winds greater than 110 mph).
Intensity is measured by a calculation called the “accumulated cyclone energy” (ACE), which is the sum of the square of wind speeds, taken at six-hour intervals, over the life of the storm, divided by 10,000. The resulting values for individual storms are summed to produce an annual total both by ocean basin and globally.
While the number and intensity of storms vary from year to year, in none of these measurements has there been any significant upward trend since modern (satellite-based) records first became available in the late 1960s. Less comprehensive data from ships at sea going back to the mid-1800s are similar.
As a matter of fact, average hurricane frequency appears to be declining, slightly.
Kevin C. O’Kane, Ph.D