The speed and the power of tropical cyclones (also called typhoons and hurricanes, depending on the location) are getting stronger due to the factor of global warming. Scientists believe that very soon, such monster storms like Katrina in 2005 (the deadliest hurricane in US history), Harvey in 2017 (the most recent Texas disaster), and most recently Hurricane Irma will pale in comparison.
For many years, global warming fighters have been warning people about the consequences of ocean warming, including the increase in storm activity. For example, back in 1998, a research team from MIT calculated that each 1°C added to the temperature will result in a 5% storm wind speed increase.
In 2008, scientists from FSU compared the hurricane force to the average annual temperature for the past 25 years. They found that the warmer the water is, the stronger the storms become. For 13 out of the 17 most dangerous hurricanes, the intensity increased by 31% for each 1°C of temperature increase. The scientists advised that the storm activity appeared as a result of complicated multi layered processes; however, as the temperature increased, the effect of the rest of the factors intensified and we get a big and powerful hurricane.
At the very core of the contemporary hurricane research lays the fact that excess warmth in the air or the ocean is a form of energy. The storms get their power from that energy. We don’t know whether this temperature increase leads to a rise in the number of cyclones. Some scientists believe that the number may even be going down while the power of each of them is intensifying.
However, there is other research showing that hurricanes don’t seem to be getting stronger with time due to global warming. The variety of the different studies makes it difficult to find the truth.
What we do know is that due to global warming, the system has an excess of energy. What we don’t know is if it affects the hurricanes in some special way.
The Power Dissipation Index is the measurement of a hurricane’s intensity. The analysis of the index shows that since the 1970s, hurricane energy is growing. The hurricane speed is increasing at about two miles per hour every 10 years. While it doesn’t seem like much, such an increase can lead to unfortunate consequences. More and more intense hurricanes are damaging the planet. Some scientists believe that these hurricanes will become more and more destructive. They will last longer and lead to more frequent landfalls.
For the past 40 years, global warming fighters have been bringing scientists specific evidence that the planet is in danger. More and more studies are being conducted about the connection between hurricane intensity and global warming. Every year, the scientists get more data and humanity is getting closer and closer to the truth.