By Dan Shapley
An unresolved front in climate change science has been the effect of warmer oceans on hurricanes. Increased storm activity and strength would seem to follow from over-heated water, but the complexity of storm formation and the vagaries of storm cycles independent of climate changes leaves the debate wide open. Enter coral reefs. Scientists studying coral reefs have found a record of storms -- much as scientists at the polls read layers of ice to determine past climate conditions, or scientists on land study tree rings -- that seems to suggest any increase in recent storm activity is less extraordinary than the lull that preceded it. That's right. The norm is more intense storms, and the increase in storm activity witnessed through the 1990s may be a simple return to "normal," according to a story in the June 7 Los Angeles Times.