It was just a comment made in passing, but it was very revealing in its own way.
On this morning's Today show, in discussing incipient Hurricane Rita, Katie Couric observed "if Rita turns into a hurricane, it will be the seventh." She then added pointedly added "there have been a lot this year!"
We can all read Katie's 'subliminable' message:
"Gotta be the global warming/Bush's failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty/hole in the ozone layer/Halliburton/VRWC/Republican SUVs and who knows, probably the lack of 'free' national health care."
There's only one small problem with Katie the Climatologist's theory. Far from being "a lot," seven hurricanes in a year is very typical, and far from the recent high of 12, which occurred 36 years ago.
Have a look at the chart below, which shows this. The peak of 12 came 36 years ago in 1969. Next highest was 11 in 1949 - tied 10 years ago during the administration of VP Al Gore.
Oh well, Katie. At least your heart is in the right, green, place.