Alternative interpretations of the relationship between sea surface temperature and hurricane activity imply vastly different future Atlantic hurricane activity.

A key question in the study of near term climate change is whether there is a causal connection between warming tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and Atlantic hurricane activity. Such a connection would imply that the marked increase in Atlantic hurricane activity since the early 1990s is a harbinger of larger changes to come and that part of that increase could be attributed to human actions. However, the increase could also be a result of the warming of the Atlantic relative to other ocean basins, which is not expected to continue in the long term.

Climate models suggest that extreme precipitation events will become more common in an anthropogenically warmed climate. However, observational limitations have hindered a direct evaluation of model-projected changes in extreme precipitation.