Environment Monday, August 1, 2005. Post by apsmith
From the New Scientist, this report on a study by MIT meteorologist Kerry Emanuel of hurricane wind intensities over the past 50 years in the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific seems to indicate a strong correlation between small increases in sea-surface temperatures and total “destructive potential” of the storms. Destructive potential here refers to the integrated square of the wind speeds (total wind energy) over the duration of the storm – the increases, roughly double the destructive potential for a half-degree sea-surface temperature change, come from both greater wind speeds and longer duration storms, sustained by the higher temperatures.
A previous article noted that intensity and rainfall from hurricanes have been consistently increasing in recent years. There do remain some doubts about the way Emanual has come up with some of his numbers. However, if this holds up, future temperature increases with global warming suggest things could get much worse. Meanwhile in other reports, sea life on the Pacific coast seems to be suffering from the high temperatures this year, with plummeting catches of fish, lots of dead birds, and very little plankton.
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