My subjective impression (from being a casual hurricane watcher for twenty years) is that they are, at least in the North Atlantic, and I believe I have heard others say this. I had said something to that effect in another thread, was challenged about it, failed to find hard evidence to support it, and withdrew it.
Remarkably, just since then, the climogosphere has been popping with discussion about a new paper by Grinsted et al which detects “a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923″. This has been out, actually, for a couple of months, so it isn;t as if it were rushed to press for Sandy, but it’s certainly germane.
Hoerling, quoted by Andy Revkin, isn’t buying it:
As to underlying causes, neither the frequency of tropical or extratropical cyclones over the North Atlantic are projected to appreciably change due to climate change, nor have there been indications of a change in their statistical behavior over this region in recent decades (see IPCC 2012 SREX report).
This time he has some excuse, as Grinsted et al postdates SREX 2012. But again,as has been true in previous statements by Hoerling, there’s confusion of causality, attribution, and trend here. We should try to untangle it as the dust settles, which I don’t expect until Wednesday at the earliest, possibly Thursday.
By the way, Revkin, in the same article, quotes The Egregious Pat Michaels (Yes, I know, that’s Doctor The Egregious Pat Michaels to me.) We know, that is to say, which side of the coin came up this morning.