Environmental Studies Program


A Warming Atlantic? Can We See an Increase in Hurricane Activity as a Result of Global Warming?

Will Hall, University of Nebraska at Lincoln


The theory of increased hurricane activity is being debated from scientists all over the world. Scientists from NOAA and the National Hurricane Center have noticed an increase of ocean temperature due to climate change. What they are looking at now is could we see a potential increase of hurricanes due to rising sea temperatures? Hurricanes need warm ocean waters to build and gather strength and with sea temperatures rising, increasing hurricane activity could occur in future years. If hurricane activity does increase, major cities of the Southeast of the U.S could be a risk. I believe that in the future years, we could see an increase of hurricane activity along the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. The problem that could arise from this is, coastal cities like New Orleans, Miami and several others prepared for this? Are their evacuations plans up to date and efficient at getting everybody out to safety before the hurricane makes landfall? Taking research from different weather organizations on hurricane numbers and intensities, I compared them to heat content and sea level temperatures. Because this is a theory, peer reviewed literature was also used to help shed some light on the subject. What was discovered was that we could potentially see an increase of hurricane intensities but not much or very little increase in hurricane numbers.