"Since the mid-1990s, hurricanes and tropical storms have struck the Atlantic Ocean with unusual frequency -- or have they? Two new studies suggest that the situation may not be so clear.
One, by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suggests that the high number of storms reported these days may reflect improved observation and analysis techniques, not a meteorological change for the worse. The second, by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and elsewhere, suggests that there were as many storms a thousand years ago, when Atlantic Ocean waters were unusually warm, as today.
The work does not suggest that people should stop worrying about whether global warming increases the threat of bad weather on the Atlantic Coast. But it offers new evidence that predicting what lies ahead may be difficult. "