Global Warming - Link to Increase and Frequency of Hurricanes

Global Warming - Link to Increase and Frequency of Hurricanes

Scientists believe that greenhouse warming is causing the climate change that has increased the frequency and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes. It is also believed that the storms will continue to increase along with global warming. The reason for the increase in the number of hurricanes is due to the warmer ocean water. This study will be reported in the August 23rd issue of Geophysical Research Letters, which is a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

James Elsner of Florida State University in Tallahassee researched the average global near-surface air temperature and the Atlantic sea surface temperature over the last 50 years. He also compared the data against the hurricanes intensities.

What Elsner found is that the average air temperatures during the June through November hurricane season helped to predict the sea surface temperature. If the water is warmer it helps in to create the environment for hurricanes to build up intensity of the storm.

There has been debate over the global warming being responsible for the increase in the number of hurricanes. Previous results from these studies with computer simulations show that hurricane intensity would increase with increased global mean temperatures.

Other studies believe that the cause of the increase in hurricanes is due to natural causes. The sea surface temperatures are caused naturally by means of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which is a process of changes that is long-term in the North Atlantic Ocean.

"The large increases in powerful hurricanes over the past several decades, together with the results presented here, certainly suggest cause for concern," Elsner said. "These results have serious implications for life and property throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and portions of the United States."

Elsner has used detailed data to find any evidence that would relate climate changes to cause an increase and more intense hurricanes. From the data he was able to find evidence that links atmospheric warming that could attribute to an increase in frequency and intensity in Atlantic hurricanes. He believes that the atmospheric increase in temperatures is caused by greenhouse gases.

"I infer that future hurricane hazard mitigation efforts should reflect that hurricane damage will continue to increase, in part, due to greenhouse warming," Elsner said. "This research is important to the field of hurricane science by moving the debate away from trend analyses of hurricane counts and toward a physical mechanism that can account for the various observations."

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