Saturday, May 30, 2015

Warmer Oceans Will Make Typhoons More Intense

Typhoon Maysak, as seen from the International Space Station on March 31, 2015. (Credit: NASA) Click to Enlarge.
While the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be relatively quiet, thanks to the influence of a healthy El NiƱo, the typhoon season in the northwest Pacific has been jam-packed so far, even for an area that normally sees the highest tropical cyclone activity and a large proportion of the strongest storms.

One of the earliest Category 5 typhoons in the record books, Super Typhoon Maysak, formed in March, and the basin has already seen its seventh named storm, the earliest in a season that mark has been reached.  And one of the strongest cyclones ever measured, Typhoon Haiyan, devastated the Philippines just two years ago.

A new study suggests that the region could see even more intense storms in a warming world, propelled by rising temperatures in the upper portion of the ocean.  The excess heat absorbed by the Pacific as greenhouse gas emissions continue will lead to a 14 percent increase in typhoon intensity in that basin by 2100, the researchers project.

“This is exciting and well-executed research which will no doubt influence future work on the relationship between tropical cyclones and climate,” Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane-climate researcher at MIT who wasn’t involved in the study, said in an email.

Read more at Warmer Oceans Will Make Typhoons More Intense

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