Hurricanes are fueled by warm ocean water and warm moist air, so it's predicted that global warming will mean more, and stronger tropical storms. It's tricky testing this against observations though because there's no data about storms out at sea until relatively recently. Plane observations started in 1944 and satellites in 1970.
But the scientists behind a new study are confident they've shown a connection. From Scientific American:
The number of Atlantic hurricanes in an average season has doubled in the last century due in part to warmer seas and changing wind patterns caused by global warming, according to a study released on Sunday.
Hurricane researchers have debated for years whether climate change caused by greenhouse gases from cars, factories and other human activity is resulting in more, and more intense, tropical storms and hurricanes.
The new study, published online in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, said the increased numbers of tropical storms and hurricanes in the last 100 years is closely related to a 1.3-degree Fahrenheit rise in sea surface temperatures.
Image courtesy of NASA, which has a good overview of hurricanes for those who want to know more about them.