Long-debated has been whether or not there is a long-term trend in the number of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.
The answer to this seemingly straightforward question turns out to be complicated because there have been changes in the observing practices over time-including changes in the spatial coverage of observing systems as well as the technologies employed. Therefore, teasing out the real climate signal from the noise induced by the changing nature of the observations has proved challenging and lends itself to a variety of methodologies producing a variety of results.
Of top of this less than perfect solution is the desire (for some at least) to want to try to involve anthropogenic global warming, hoping to find that anthropogenic climate change is leading to more tropical storms and hurricanes. But thus far, the evidence for this is scant, to say the least.
And now, it just got scanter. (We know the word is "scantier" but the one we concocted rhymes with our pugilistic friend in climate hyperbole, Ben Santer).
A just-published paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research authored by a team of leading hurricane researchers has once again examined the historical record of tropical storm observations from the Atlantic Ocean this time focusing on the number of tropical storms whose entire lifetime was less than two days. The authors' termed these very minor storms "shorties." The identification of shorties is one element of the tropical cyclone record that could be very impacted by changing observational methodologies and technologies. Short-duration storms are presently identified much more readily than they were, say, prior to the satellite era.