Seth Borenstein at Knight-Ridder has, it seems to me, done this just about right. He’s got a recap of hurricane data since 1995, which captures intense hurricane years subsequent to the IPCC data I cited earlier. He also notes with some care the plausible “natural variability” argument:
Hurricanes go through multidecade cycles of many storms and few storms, Gray said in his most recent forecast. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were a lot of storms, then few from 1970 to 1994. Gray theorized that it’s based on changes of temperature and salinity in the ocean on a massive scale that then changes atmospheric conditions.
This is not some fringe climate contrarian he’s quoting here, but William Gray, dean of the hurricane forecasters. The money line:
Why it’s been so busy lately is widely debated. Some experts point to global warming; others say it’s just part of natural cycles.
That seems like about the right way to pitch this one.