Hurricane Irma
In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma as it moves towards the Florida Coast in the Caribbean Sea taken at 03:30 UTC on Sept. 7, 2017. Getty Images/ NOAA GOES Project

It is a known fact that global warming is impacting the weather all around the globe.

With the U.S. hit by two hurricanes within a fortnight, there were many who wondered if climate change was making tornados and tropical storms stronger.

But is that really the case?

Hurricane Irma, which tore through the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm on Sept. 5 — before simmering down to Category 4 before making landfall in Florida — has been called the strongest Atlantic hurricane in history.

Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project tracked the hurricane along with his team, recording in the process all the meteorological records it broke in its duration.

Irma sustained 185-mph winds for 37 hours, a feat that no hurricane had achieved till then. It also had the highest Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of any cyclone on record in the tropical Atlantic, Business Insider reported.

In fact, the gathering strength of Irma reached such an unbelievable point that rumors of it qualifying as a “Category 6” hurricane started doing the round on the internet. The rumor had no basis in fact as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, on which hurricanes are measured, does not have a category beyond 5, the Washington Post reported.

So, were Hurricane Irma and other ever-growing tropical storms caused due to the changes in the planet’s climate?

According to the Pew Centre, globally, there is an average of about 90 tropical storms a year. Even though climate change has never been cited as the reason behind the increasing number of hurricanes, the rising temperature of water bodies across the world can be linked to tropical storms growing stronger than ever before and making landfall more frequently, Sceptical Science reported.

As for tornados, the case is a little different. According to Accuweather, there is not enough evidence to support the fact that climate change has played a role in producing stronger tornados. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has gone back and reevaluated the records of the damage inflicted by tornados over the years, as measured by the Fujita Scale that came into existence in 1971.

After examining the same, they came to the conclusion that it is not so much that the tornados have become more severe than before, but that people are often under such an impression because of the influence of social media.

No matter where people are in the world, they are always able to stay well-informed about the destruction that natural disasters like tornados bring in the regions they strike.

"The big reason why we think that severe weather has gotten worse is our ability to communicate information about it,” Harold Brooks, research meteorologist at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, said. “If you think back 100 years ago, a tornado that happened 10 or 20 miles away, you might not even be aware of it, if it didn't affect where you live directly.”

“Now, you can watch people chasing tornadoes online live,” Brooks added. "So it's the fact that we are more aware and able to communicate that information about events so much better than we used to be able to that it makes us think severe weather has increased.”

Meanwhile, a study published in February 2016, found that average number of tornados per outbreak has increased by 40 percent in the last 50 years. The greatest outbreak involving tornados was in 2011 when 363 violent storms wreaked havoc across the United States and Canada, claiming 350 lives and causing $11 billion in damage, the Earth Institute Of Colombia University reported.

And yet, with all the advancement in the field of science, scientists cannot state for sure if the increasing number of tornados can be attributed to climate change, International Research Institution For Climate And Society reported.

“It could be global warming, but our usual tools, the observational record and computer models, are not up to the task of answering this question yet,” lead author Michael Tippett, a climate and weather researcher at Columbia University’s School of Applied Science and Engineering and Columbia’s Data Science Institute, said.

However, that does not rule out the possibility that global warming will start affecting the strength of tornados in the future.

"As the planet warms, the moisture content of the atmosphere will also increase. And that's the basic fuel that drives thunderstorms. It's where the storms get their energy from... as we warm the planet that will increase the energy available for producing storms," Brooks said, according to the Accuweather report.