Graph: North Atlantic Warming Tropical Waters

Climate Central

There are several factors in hurricane development, including wind shear and dry air in the middle atmosphere, but sea surface temperature is critical. Warmer water means more evaporation, providing more fuel for the storm’s development. Over the last century, the planet’s oceans have warmed, in some locations, as much as 1-3°F. And while there are long term fluctuations in the Atlantic Ocean’s temperature, there has been a distinct upward trend since 1970.