Warmer oceans, more moisture in the atmosphere, and other factors suggest that human-induced climate change will increase hurricane intensity and rainfall, according to climate expert Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His paper, "Uncertainty in Hurricanes and Global Warming," appears in the Perspectives section of the June 17 issue of Science.
"Trends in human-influenced environmental changes are now evident in hurricane regions," says Trenberth. "These changes are expected to affect hurricane intensity and rainfall, but the effect on hurricane numbers remains unclear. The key scientific question is how hurricanes are changing."
TrenberthTMs paper follows extensive tropical activity last year, including a record number of hurricane landfalls affecting Florida and typhoons striking Japan. These landfalls were related to persistent large-scale circulation features that steered these systems toward land, Trenberth says. It is unclear how global warming will affect these circulation patterns, he adds.
Anatta, | EurekAlert!
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