How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Storms of New York
Vermette, S. 2007. Storms of tropical origin: a climatology for New York State, USA (1851-2005). Natural Hazards 42: 91-103.

What was done
Noting that "global warming is postulated by some researchers to increase hurricane intensity in the north basin of the Atlantic Ocean," with the implication that "a warming ocean may increase the frequency, intensity, or timing of storms of tropical origin that reach New York State," the author employed the Historical Hurricane Tracks tool of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal Service Center to document all Atlantic Basin tropical cyclones that reached New York State between 1851 and 2005, in order to assess the degree of likelihood that 20th-century global warming might be influencing these storms as climate alarmists are suggesting it should, particularly for hurricanes but also for tropical storms, tropical depressions and extratropical storms.

What was learned
Vermette reports that "a total of 76 storms of tropical origin passed over New York State between 1851 and 2005," and that of these storms, 14 were hurricanes, 27 were tropical storms, 7 were tropical depressions and 28 were extratropical storms." For Long Island, he further reports that "the average frequency of hurricanes and storms of tropical origin (all types) is one in every 11 years and one in every 2 years, respectively." Also of note is his finding that storm activity was greatest in both the late 19th century and the late 20th century, and the fact that "the frequency and intensity of storms in the late 20th century are similar to those of the late 19th century."

What it means
In light of the story told by the data he analyzed, Vermette concludes that "rather than a linear change, that may be associated with a global warming, the changes in recent time are following a multidecadal cycle and returning to conditions of the latter half of the 19th century." Hence, he also concludes that "yet unanswered is whether a warmer global climate of the future will take hurricane activity beyond what has been experienced in the observed record," which in the case of his study pertains solely to the state of New York, although many other studies have produced similar findings for many other parts of the world (see Hurricanes in our Subject Index).

Reviewed 21 November 2007