The Atlantic hurricane season has been so active this year that meteorologists have almost exhausted the list of names used to track tropical storms. This week, five named storms (Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, and Vicky) meant forecasters were left with just one entry, Wilfred, on its 21-name list.
They may now turn to the Greek alphabet, starting with Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, but the naming shortfall has underlined the far more disquieting fact that this season’s hurricanes, now at 20, far outnumber the seasonal average of 11 storms.
A study in May found that the likelihood of major hurricanes around the world is increasing because of human-caused global warming. The finding, published by the National Academy of Sciences, will hardly make an impression on US president Donald Trump, who has dismissed the role of climate change in the devastating wildfires now spreading across the country.
We might criticise him and his decision to take his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, but governments all over the world need to do much more, and faster, to keep climate change at the top of the agenda.