Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mr. Bush, meet Global Warming

I was trying to remember where I read that global warming will increase hurricane severity. It was this article. I am inserting the abstract. Quoting the abstract falls within fair use guidelines. The article is by Kerry Emanuel, of MIT, and is the result of his research on the past 30 years of tropical cyclones. If you have institutional or personal access to Nature, you can read the full article, which is quite technical.
Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years
by Kerry Emanuel
Theory and modelling predict that hurricane intensity should increase with increasing global mean temperatures, but work on the detection of trends in hurricane activity has focused mostly on their frequency, and shows no trend. Here I define an index of the potential destructiveness of hurricanes based on the total dissipation of power, integrated over the lifetime of the cyclone, and show that this index has increased markedly since the mid-1970s. This trend is due to both longer storm lifetimes and greater storm intensities. I find that the record of net hurricane power dissipation is highly correlated with tropical sea surface temperature, reflecting well-documented climate signals, including multi-decadal oscillations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and global warming. My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and—taking into account an increasing coastal population—a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty-first century.

This is from Nature advance online publication; published online 31 July 2005 | doi: 10.1038/nature 03906

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