Abstract The status of attempts to detect climate trends in tropical cyclone data and the possible attribution of such trends to anthropogenic climate change are reviewed. A number of trends have been detected in tropical cyclone data but some of these are likely due to data inhomogeneities. Where the data is good, for instance in the Atlantic basin, detected trends are more likely to be real. Whether such trends can be attributed at this time to anthropogenic climate change relies not only upon good data but also upon the physical basis of the hypothesized links between global warming and variables related to tropical cyclone characteristics. These links may be made stronger through the use of numerical models and theoretically-based parameters. A process is outlined by which this might be achieved.
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