Does Global Warming Cause Extreme Weather?

Last week, John Vidal connected super-typhoon Haiyan to global warming. A NASA climate scientist cuts through the spin:

Brad Plumer is on the same page:

Last year, three researchers at the University of Colorado and the Naval Research Laboratory did their best to reconstruct a worldwide database for hurricanes or typhoons that made landfalls between 1970 and 2010.

Their conclusion? “The analysis does not indicate significant long-period global or individual basin trends in the frequency or intensity of landfalling [tropical cyclones] of minor or major hurricane strength.” … The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came to a similar conclusion in its recent report: As best anyone can tell, tropical storms aren’t getting any more or less frequent worldwide: “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century and it remains uncertain whether any reported long-term increases in tropical cyclone frequency are robust.”

The IPCC adds that there has been an increase in intensity for the very strongest tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic since the 1970s, but it’s unclear what’s causing this. And there’s little data to indicate a change in cyclone intensity elsewhere in the world. It might be happening, but it’s difficult to detect as of yet.