As the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina continues to mount, the debate over the role of global warming has grown apace. Climate scientists have not established any link between global warming and the frequency of storms, but a persuasive body of evidence indicates that warming is having a considerable impact on the intensity of hurricanes, adding greatly to their destructive force. A study just published in the journal Nature reports that the power--and hence the destructive force--of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean has more than doubled in the past 30 years, with an unusually strong spike since 1995. "The large upswing is unprecedented and probably reflects the effect of global warming," said MIT climate scientist Kerry Emmanuel, who conducted the study.
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