Climate change to intensifies storms: study

April 19th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by admin  

Washington April 19 (IANS) Hurricanes in some areas, including the North Atlantic, are likely to become more intense as a result of global warming even though the number of such storms decline, according to a study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers. Kerry Emanuel, the study’s co-author, wrote a paper in 2005 reporting an apparent link between a warming climate and an increase in hurricane intensity.

That paper drew worldwide attention because it appeared in Nature just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans.

Emanuel of the MIT pointed out that the new research independently validates earlier results, using a completely different approach. He co-authored the paper with Ragoth Sundararajan and graduate student John Williams.

While the earlier study was based entirely on historical records of past hurricanes, showing nearly a doubling in the intensity of Atlantic storms over the last 30 years, the new work is theoretical.

It made use of a new technique to fine tune computer simulations called Global Circulation Models, which are the basis for most projections of future climate change.

“It strongly confirms, independently, the results in the Nature paper,” Emanuel said. “This is a completely independent analysis and comes up with very consistent results.”

Worldwide, both methods show an increase in the intensity and duration of tropical cyclones, the generic name for what are known as hurricanes in the North Atlantic, reports Sciencedaily.

Another possibility is that the recent hurricane increase is related to the fast pace of increase in temperature. The computer models in this study, Emanuel explains, show what happens after the atmosphere has stabilized at new, much higher carbon dioxide concentrations.

These findings recently appeared in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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