Let me start this post by stating that I am a firm believer in the theory of anthopogenic global warming.
I’m a bit more sketchy on the currently prevalent trend of trying to tie everything into global warming and generally trying to frighten the public into supporting certain political movements. We’ve been told repeatedly that there is a strong link between global warming and the intensity (and, depending on who’s doing the talking, the frequency) of hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons worldwide.
A new study, however, disputes that, claiming that there will, in fact, be a decrease in the number of hurricanes though there may be a “modest” increase (~1-2%) in the power of such events. Of course, the devil’s in the details, and climate change models are only that — models. Some models give weight to certain factors and others do not, and they all have their failings. Only the most dishonest scientist would tell you that his model is definitive.
Most people, however, aren’t scientists, and both sides of the global warming debate have a vested interest in supporting whichever model “proves” their side is “right”. So expect to see this study adopted by global warming skeptics as evidence that global warming is rubbish (or at least not anthropogenic) with the same zeal that past studies have been utilized by environmental groups to advance their agenda.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is to distrust anyone in the global warming debate who claims that such-and-such study “proves” a damned thing. Chances are that most partisans on both sides have probably never really looked at any of the science or bothered to learn much further than what Al Gore said in “An Inconvenient Truth”. Sadly, the issue has long since passed into the hands of those who’re just informed enough to use “global warming” and every study that comes out about it as a cudgel with which to batter their political foes rather than treating it as an important scientific question. Much like the results of the anti-nuclear hysteria of decades past, I fear that the current atmosphere of partisanship re: global warming will eventually leave us in a much worse position than we are today.