Recent research from the US suggests that the number of Hurricanes and Tropical cyclones experienced in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans will decrease as a result of global warming. At the same time there will be a slight increase in the intensity of these storms. So, fewer hurricanes but more severe when they do appear. These findings would appear to be completely at odds to many other studies done regarding this subject, which, so far, have always indicated more storms in a warmer climate. So will man made global warming actually have a great impact on the hurricane season? (Does man made global warming really exist?) The obvious answer is that if you increase the heat entering into the global climatic system then there is going to be more energy within the atmosphere, leading to greater evaporation from the oceans causing heavier rainfall and stronger winds. However, if we have learnt anything over the long history of the earth, it is that the climate is predictably unpredictable.
Although the study projected that there would be fewer extreme weather events in the future these storms were likely to be more powerful. So fewer hurricanes, but packing a much bigger punch. A previous study by scientists showed a 4% increase in storm intensity for every 1C (1.8F) increase in sea surface temperature. But this most recent study suggests only a 1-2% increase.
One of the key components for the formation of hurricanes is a sea surface temperature of 26.5C (79.7F) or above. This allows a hurricane to form and feed itself much more readily.
This is why hurricanes so often increase in intensity after passing from the slightly cooler waters of the Atlantic over the Florida Panhandle and on into the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example of a hurricane that increased in intensity as it passed over the Gulf, feeding on the warm ocean, before making landfall with devastating impact on New Orleans. Over recent decades there has been an increase in the surface temperature of tropical oceans of 0.5C (0.9F).
This is believed to have been caused by the increase in global greenhouse concentrations in the atmosphere. Is this all man made? Possibly, but really no definitive answer can be given as there is evidence both for and against the impact of man on the climate. One thing is for sure, man-made global warming has now become a huge global business! This has turned me into something of a sceptic, although there is most definitely a warming trend in the climate at the moment. However whether this has an anthropogenic origin or stems from a different dynamic, solar output for instance, is still up for debate. Naturally occurring climatic variations, such as El Nino and La Nina, also have a large short term impact on the climate and storm systems of the earth. Over the coming years there will be more and more models, studies and hypotheses regarding the climate, each one will be slightly different, some will be completely opposed to others! Only time will give us the real answer, but in the meantime it will do us all no harm to reduce the pollution in our planet, global warming or not, it is hardly a good thing.
Mark Boardman BSc dip.hyp is an experienced Hypnotherapist and highly qualified EFT and TAT practitioner. After a childhood interest in the Weather Mark went on to study Climatology at University and has continued his studies for the subsequent 20 years. Weather World Weather News