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.