Are Atlantic tropical cyclones intensifying more quickly?

I have just read a recent report Tropical cyclone intensification trends during satellite era (1986–2010) that claims that the world’s tropical cyclones are intensifying more quickly. I came across it after reading a tweet by Katharine Hayhoe that had been retweeted by Alex Deakin in which she said:

Faster intensification, as just happened with Hurricane Delta, is one of the ways climate change is loading the hurricane dice against us. On average, Atlantic hurricanes are intensifying from a storm to Cat 3 now 20 hours faster than 25 years ago.

Prof. Katharine Hayhoe

Last year I wrote a simple Windows application to analyse just how quickly tropical cyclones intensified from tropical storms to each of the five hurricane categories, I used HURDAT4 data to do the analysis with and I cover the period from 1974 right up to September 2020. The program simply calculates the time in hours between when a tropical cyclone is first named by the NHC to when it reaches each of the hurricane categories. I then plot the number of hours against the date on a scatter graph and draw a linear trend to work out the slope. I defy anyone to challenge the simple logic that I use to achieve this. In doing so the results may well surprise you, because instead of tropical cyclones being quicker to intensify as this report claims they are, they have on average been much slower to intensify!

Today’s tropical storms took more than 18 hours on average to reach category one hurricane status as they did back in 1974.

Tropical storms took over seven hours more on average to reach category two hurricane status that they did back in 1974.

Finally tropical storms took over seven hours longer on average to reach category three hurricane status as they did back in 1974.

It seems to me that climate scientists around the world are seemingly ‘ganging up’ on tropical cyclones trying to prove a point, and that point is to prove a causal link with any increases in frequency or intensity to global warming. In the last year or so I have examined some of these claims, and found most of them to be wonting or incorrect. I have no particular axe to grind when it comes to AGW, but I’m not prepared to simply stand by and take as gospel the work of some budding academics who have decided to jump on the global warming bandwagon by doing some easy research, probably whilst in COVID-19 lockdown, without doing a little bit of research of my own. There are stark parallels between how people’s genuine concerns about some aspects of global warming and how people were treated in the Spanish Inquisition.

In conclusion

In my opinion the answer to the question “Are Atlantic tropical cyclones intensifying more quickly?, and bear in mind I am no professor, is that no there isn’t, and in fact as far I can see they are taking much longer to intensify. If you are interested I did come up with some possible reasons in last years article why that should be.

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