Scientists mull quiet '09 hurricane season

If global warming equals more storms, where are they?

In December 2008, the National Hurricane Center predicted an above-average hurricane season for 2009. Since then, the organization has downgraded it to a below-average season.

In December 2008, the National Hurricane Center predicted an above-average hurricane season for 2009. Since then, the organization has downgraded it to a below-average season. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The now iconic image of murky dust rising from a smokestack in the shape of a hurricane on the cover of Al Gore's global warming documentary draws a distinct correlation between rising temperatures and stronger storm patterns.

But here's an inconvenient truth: This year's hurricane season has gotten off to the slowest start in 17 years. And yet global warming alarmists continue to ring their doomsday sirens.

The official start of the hurricane season is June 1. And not since 1992 - the year of Hurricane Andrew - has the Atlantic Ocean been silent past Aug. 4. Meteorologists have yet to name even a single tropical storm in the Atlantic in 2009.

So is global warming really doing anything?

"While it is commonly thought that global warming would increase hurricane activity, that is far from a settled issue," said Rob Eisenson, a meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University. "There are some research studies that suggest global warming would not have that effect."

But Eisenson cautions that looking at one season's activity cannot determine whether a long-term trend is or is not happening.

"I don't think the slow start to the hurricane season can be pointed to as an erosion of the claims of global warming or hurricane activity. Likewise, I don't think a single especially active hurricane year is highly supportive of these claims. ... Anyone can claim anything in this debate - fact is, there is no way to prove or disprove any of it."