Studies link strong storms with rising sea surface temperatures
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have released a study supporting the findings of several studies last year linking an increase in the strength of hurricanes around the world to a global increase in sea surface temperature. The new study strengthens the link between the increase in hurricane intensity and the increase in tropical sea surface temperature. It found that while factors such as wind shear do affect the intensity of individual storms or storm seasons, they don’t account for the global 35-year increase in the number of the most intense hurricanes. The study appears online in the March 16 edition of Science Express at www.scienceexpress.org.
Last summer, the journals Nature and Science published studies claiming to show a very strong link between rising tropical sea surface temperatures and an increase in the strength of hurricanes. The Nature study, by Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concluded that cyclonic storms in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceanic basins were increasing in strength and duration. That increase, Emanuel concluded, was due to increasing sea surface temperatures caused, in part, by global warming.
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