OCT 23, 2001
If you talk to Tom Karl, the head of the National Climatic [Data] Center, he’s more comfortable saying that there’s no weather event that’s not affected by the greenhouse effect now. If you look at terrible weather events in recent years, like Hurricane Mitch, you have to ask: At what point does extra rain cross a critical threshold and become a 100-year flood? At what point does a 100-year flood become a 500-year flood? Also, there can be surprises and all of the surprises were bad ones. For example, you’ll see a Level 5 hurricane instead of a Level 4.
Since the year 1993, the US has had one category 4 hurricane (Charley) and zero category 5 strikes.
By contrast, between 1954 and 1969, the US had four category 4 hurricanes (Hazel, Audrey, Donna, Carla) and one category 5 hurricane (Camille)
According to Hansen, this flurry of major hurricanes occurred during a period of strong cooling in the US. Category 5 Camille occurred during one of the coldest years of the last century, in 1969.
What has increased in recent years is the willingness of NOAA to name clouds in the Atlantic.