CLASSIFIEDS ONLY THB 2,500 + VAT FOR 3 LANGUAGES The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News Phuket Environment
The Phuket News Arts | Community | Culture | Dining | Education | Phuket Entertainment | Environment | Health | People | Technology | Travel | World Entertainment XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Cyclones and climate change: Connecting the dots

Scientists freely acknowledge they don't know everything about how global warming affects hurricanes like the ones that pummelled southeast Texas and Florida recently.


AFP

Sunday 17 September 2017, 12:00PM


But what they do know is enough to keep them up at night.

The amplifying impact of sea level rise, warming oceans, and hotter air – all incontrovertible consequences of climate change – is basic physics, they say.

Likewise accelerated shifts in intensity, such as the sudden strengthening that turned Harvey from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane -- on a scale of 5 -- just as it made landfall Friday.

What's missing is a detailed track record of hurricanes past, the kind of decades-long log of measurements that climate scientists need to discern the fingerprint of human influence.

Starting in the 1970s, satellite data allowed for a better tally, but even that wasn't enough.

"It is awfully difficult to see climate change in historical data so far because hurricanes are fairly rare," Kerry Emmanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT in Boston, said.

Experts, in other words, do not disagree on the potential of manmade global warming to magnify the destructive power of the tropical storms known variously around the world as cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons.

Rather, they are confounded -- for now -- by a lack of information.

"Just because the data don't allow for unambiguous detection yet, doesn't mean that the changes haven't been occurring," noted James Kossin, a scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Weather and Climate in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kossin figured out that cyclones have drifted poleward in their respective hemispheres over the last three decades, a finding hailed by other hurricane gurus as the most unambiguous evidence so far that global warming has already had a direct impact.

When it comes to cyclones and climate change, there are many points of near "universal agreement," said Emanuel.

One is the consequence of rising seas.

"The most lethal aspect of hurricanes -- wherever they occur in the world -- is storm surge," he said in an interview.

"It is physically the same phenomenon as a tsunami, except that it is excited by wind rather than a sea floor shaken by an earthquake."

If Hurricane Sandy -- which caused $50 billion in damage -- had happened a century earlier, it probably would not have flooded lower Manhattan because sea level was about 30 centimetres (a foot) lower, he pointed out.

Global warming is likely to add roughly a metre (three feet) to the global watermark by century's end, according to recently revised estimates.

"The surge from these storms will be more devastating -- higher and more penetrating," said James Elsner, an atmospheric scientists and hurricane expert at Florida State University.

A second point of consensus is that hurricanes will hold more water, raising the threat of lethal and destructive flooding.

World Cup League @ BISP

"We calculate that one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming translates into a seven percent increase in humidity in the atmosphere," said French scientist Valerie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The US National Hurricane Center predicts that Harvey could dump more than 40 inches (100 centimetres) by the time skies clear.

Hurricane Mitch -- the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record -- left some 19,000 dead in Central America, "all from fresh-water flooding," noted Emanuel.

"The irony is that hurricanes are known for wind, yet wind is third on the list of lethal aspects," after storm surges and flooding caused by rain.

Earlier this year, Emanuel published a study pointing to yet another worrying climate "signal" emerging from the noise of raw data.

Scientists have made great progress in anticipating the path a storm will follow, extending their predictive powers from a day or two to about a week.

At the same time they have made scant headway in forecasting hurricane strength.

"The thing that keeps forecasters up at night is the prospect that a storm will rapidly gain strength just before it hits land," Emanuel said, citing Harvey as an example.

In 2015, Hurricane Patricia in the Pacific Ocean intensified more rapidly -- "It just went 'Boom!'" -- than any storm on record.

"Global warming can accentuate that sudden acceleration in intensity," Emanuel said.

A finding oft cited as evidence that the jury is still out on whether climate change will boost cyclones is that scientists don't know if there will be more or fewer such storms in the future.

But even if there are fewer, which seems likely, that misses the point, the experts interviewed agreed.

 

Since 1971, tropical cyclones have claimed about 470,000 lives and caused some $700 billion in damages globally, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

But most of that death and destruction is attributable to a relative handful of storms. Just three, for example, have caused well over half of all storm-related deaths in the US since 1900.

So even if the number of mostly smaller storms diminishes, that's not what counts.

"The idea of 'fewer but stronger' seems to be the fingerprint of climate change on tropical cyclones," Elsner concluded.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
Security:
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


International Surf Lifesaving Association issues Phuket travel warning

Let's hope everyone's volunteer visa and work permits are in order. Ruffling a few feathers...(Read More)


Phuket condo market climbs after big hit

Anyone who can spin this data as a positive outlook is either in the property business or has no understanding of the property business, or maybe both...(Read More)


Phuket’s Emerald Group CEO on bail again, after missing court date

Absolute rubbish from the clowns who don't even bother to research the subject, nor have a clue about Court processes and the reasons for the same...(Read More)


Cops raid shady electronic waste plant

If you read the article the owner was Taiwanese, with overseas investors, not Thai....(Read More)


Phuket fugitive wanted for family shooting arrested in Satun

How many illegal firearms do the police think there is around Thailand ? What do police do to cut this number down ? I had a problem for some years ...(Read More)


International Surf Lifesaving Association issues Phuket travel warning

Mr. Jenner should be extra cautious after offending those who profit from ocean activities. Might wear a kevlar jacket as well as a life jacket on hi...(Read More)


Phuket monkey ‘birth control’ to go to public opinion

"They should be culled. They are a nuisance and a danger to the public". A bit harsh. I realise that Thai officials can be infuriatingly ...(Read More)


International Surf Lifesaving Association issues Phuket travel warning

"There is no one on standby to save you from crossing the road unsafely," seems like our small group of thai apolgists has another aka. The ...(Read More)


Senior monks defrocked after raids

Rotten to the core. Unfortunately it goes deeper than that. My girlfriend told her ageing mother is reaching the end of her life. But for a fee, they ...(Read More)


Phuket monkey ‘birth control’ to go to public opinion

They should be culled. They are a nuisance and a danger to the public....(Read More)

The Phuket News
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2018 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.