A team of scientists corroborated Koonin’s assertion in a June 7, 2007, letter to Nature. “The record indicates that the average frequency of major hurricanes decreased gradually from the 1760s until the early 1990s, reaching anomalously low values during the 1970s and 1980s,” they wrote.
Koonin is concerned about the politicization of science, in which politicians used skewed data to set policy and influence public opinion. He told the Journal the ethos of science was different when he began his career: The standard was, “you tell it like it is. You’re a scientist and it is your responsibility to just put the facts on the table.”