Fundamentally, the main issue here is that the more sound, physically-based methods there are that make the same prediction, the more confidence that can be placed in that prediction. Formal detection and attribution of a climate change signal requires more than a plausible physical association between variables; it requires that predictive tools are employed to distinguish anthropogenic effects from natural variability. Current studies clearly show a detected signal of tropical cyclone changes in the Atlantic and there have been plausible arguments relating these changes to global warming. But formal attribution of these trends, quantifying the fraction of the observed change due to anthropogenic climate change and the fraction due to natural climate variations, has not taken place—yet. For this to occur, climate model simulations and theories of tropical cyclones need to improve. In the meantime, improved inferences can be made using a combination of large-scale numerical simulation and statistical methods. Such a process is vital in increasing the confidence of future projections of climate change.
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