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Fewer, fiercer tropical cyclones are in our future, study finds

Posted by Lindy on February 22, 2010


Top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming, seeming to settle a scientific debate on the subject. But they say there’s not enough evidence yet to tell whether that effect has already begun.

From before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, scientific papers have clashed about whether global warming is worsening hurricanes and will do so in the future. The study offers projections for tropical cyclones worldwide by the end of this century, and some experts said the bad news outweighs the good. Overall strength of storms as measured in wind speed would rise by 2 to 11 percent, but there would be between 6 and 34 percent fewer storms in number. Essentially, there would be fewer weak and moderate storms and more of the big damaging ones, which also are projected to be stronger due to warming.

But take note, an 11 percent increase in wind speed translates to roughly a 60 percent increase in damage.  The storms also would carry more rain which is  another indicator of damage.

In particular, in the Atlantic hurricane basin it is predicted that global warming would trigger a 28 percent increase in damage near the U.S. despite fewer storms. Category 4 and 5 Atlantic hurricanes would nearly double by the end of the century.

From an article in http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wirestory?id=9901992&page=1

They used this source:: Nature Geoscience: http://www.nature.com/ngeo

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