The BBC reports, under this headline Climate change: Bigger hurricanes are now more damaging
One of the big questions that scientists have wrestled with is how to compare storm events from different eras. Is the increase in financial damages recorded over the last century simply down to the fact there are now more people living in the paths of hurricanes, who are generally wealthier?
Previous research has concluded that the rise in damages was related to wealth, and not to any statistically significant change in frequency.
However this new paper challenges that view.
By working out similar figures for events across the last century, the researchers were able to make what they say are more realistic comparisons
The authors found that the frequency of the most damaging hurricanes had increased by a rate of 330% per century.
And they believe that is mainly due to rising temperatures.
The report implies that the previous science has failed to validate the idea that hurricanes are getting worse because of climate change but that this new work, unambiguously, clarifies that there is a relationship caused by a changing climate.
Not everyone agrees. Roger Pielke (sometimes accused of being a climate skeptic but also a published expert on extreme weather) disagrees and argues the new results are flawed:
The bottom line here is that a fatally flawed paper on climate science passed peer review at a significant journal. It used a dataset found online that had not undergone peer review, much less any quality control.
Hurricanes are becoming bigger, stronger and more dangerous -- an improved calculation method now shows a clear tendency
(I mention this explicit claim to avoid any answers claiming that the problem is how the media interpret a technical paper: the key claim in in the press release and the paper. The issue isn't what the media said, but what the paper claims).
So who is right: the new paper or Pielke? Has science now shown that climate change has already caused a large upward trend in hurricane frequency and damage?
Note a related question has been asked before, but the recent paper makes an explicit claim that the science has changed and this question is focussed on that claim.