Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/02/26/another_climate_change_myth_debunked_by_proper_climate_scientists/

Another climate change myth DEBUNKED by proper climate scientists

Take that, spreaders of misinformation

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 26th February 2014 18:37 GMT

Proper climate scientists with PhDs in the subject and everything say they have "debunked" a climate change "myth" which is commonly repeated on the internet.

The myth in question is the idea that global warming is causing an increase in the number of tropical cyclones/hurricanes. Certainly there's plenty of support among bloggers for that idea:

"Global warming and the future of storms ... hurricanes will become more frequent" - The Guardian, "Climate Consensus"

"The North Atlantic Ocean Basin has been in a more active period of tropical cyclones since 1995" - Climate Central

"Hurricane Sandy is an example of the extreme weather symptomatic of continued climate change, as storms continue to become more frequent" - Greenpeace

"The last decade has seen an average of 17 hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic - earlier in the century, half that number were recorded" - BBC

But it's not true, according to Professor Stefan Grab and postdoc researcher Jennifer Fitchett of Witwatersrand university in South Africa. The two scientists write:

By analysing three storm track records spanning periods of 66–161 years, we establish that much of the perceived change in storm numbers can be attributed to improvements in storm detection methods over the past century.

The new study is published in the International Journal of Climatology. The "debunk" and "myth" quotes are from a Witwatersrand uni announcement highlighting that research and another paper by Fitchett, which suggests that winter frosts in South Africa are set to become more damaging. ®