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Number of storms may drop, but more could be intense, study says

An increasing proportion of storms are likely to hit the highest levels of intensity because of the projected effects of global warming, an international team of scientists concludes in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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Hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms are likely to hit the highest levels of intensity because of the projected effects of global warming.

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The number of hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms globally is likely to either fall or remain flat over the course of the 21st century. But an increasing proportion of the storms are likely to hit the highest levels of intensity because of the projected effects of global warming, an international team of scientists concludes.

However, it's unclear whether past trends in the number and intensity of storms – which some research suggested may be due to global warming – fall outside the range of natural variation. This is particularly true of the Atlantic basin, the team writes.

These results appear Sunday in the online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.

The work updates a 2006 review of tropical cyclones and climate change, which many of the scientists on this team provided at the behest of the World Meteorological Organization. It also updates the related portions of a major survey of climate science published in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as a 2008 assessment on severe storms and global warming by the US Climate Change Science Program.

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