Study: Are we shifting to fewer, weaker Atlantic hurricanes?

This satellite image was taken by GOES East at 2015Z on August 28, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina was at its maximum intensity of Category 5. Photo: CBS News

A new and controversial study asks if an end is coming to the busy Atlantic hurricane seasons of recent decades.

The Atlantic looks like it’s entering a new quieter cycle of storm activity, like in the 1970s and 1980s. That’s what two hurricane researchers write in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists say they’re seeing a localized cooling and salinity level drop in the North Atlantic near Greenland.

They theorize those conditions change local weather and ocean patterns and form an on-again, off-again cycle in hurricane activity that they trace to the late 1800s.

The scientists say warmer saltier produces periods of more and stronger storms followed by cooler less salty water triggering a similar period of fewer and weaker hurricanes. The periods last about 25 years, sometimes more, sometimes less.

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