Monday, April 21, 2008

Connection between global warming and hurricanes

According to a new analysis by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005, while natural cycles were only a minor factor. Results of this study show complete opposite of recent claims that natural cycles are mainly responsible for recent increasing hurricane activity.

Global warming also influences hurricane activity which will rise in correlation with global temperature rise. Year 2007. accounted for record breaking of 28 tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, of which hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma all reached very powerful category 5 strength.

This new study was mainly oriented on an increase in ocean temperatures across the tropical Atlantic between 10 and 20 degrees north, which is origin of many hurricanes and as the results showed temperature in these parts were a record 1.7 degrees F above the 1901-1970 average. There is consensus between scientists that warming waters are responsible for increased hurricane activity, and there is only few scientists that still defend theory how waters have heated up mainly because of a natural, decades-long cycle, and not because of global warming as majority thinks.

These thoughts of many scientists were confirmed in this study as calculations showed that global warming explained about 0.8 degrees F of this rise. Aftereffects from the 2004-05 El Nino accounted for about 0.4 degrees F. The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), and a 60-to-80-year natural cycle in SSTs, explained even less than 0.2 degrees F of the rise.

This doesn't necessary imply that global warming will have higher impact with every year as there are other factors (last year's activity was related to very favorable upper-level winds as well as the extremely warm SSTs), but it does mean significant impact that global warming has on hurricanes, especially since worldwide temperature increase will also continue to heat up already warm oceans and therefore raising the baseline of hurricane activity.

With this in mind we should really expect more frequent hurricanes, and what is even more important, much stronger hurricanes than ever before. And once again global warming is significantly involved in yet another potential nature disaster. And unfortunately so, more is to follow...

Global warming has significant impact on hurricanes

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