Heavier typhoons in hotter greenhouse
So far, scientists have been rather reluctant to comment on the effects of increasing global warming. Using a computer simulation, US researchers have now come to the conclusion that the intensity of hurricanes increases with the temperature of the sea surface. According to the simulations of the meteorologists, it will be even more uncomfortable in the corner of the world that is already hit hardest by hurricanes - if the feared climate change occurs and the sea temperature increases. The result of the study, which de alt with a limited area northeast of the Philippines, is summarized by Thomas Knutson from the US Department of Oceans and Atmosphere: "In today's climate, the strongest typhoons occur in this region. From our simulations it follows that these become even more intense in an atmosphere where carbon dioxide increases. Their wind speed would therefore be five to twelve percent higher than under today's conditions."
The work thus confirms older, but more theoretical, assumptions that global warming will intensify tropical storms. The theses of the US researchers go even further. According to the latest information from climate experts working for the United Nations, it is not yet possible to predict with certainty whether the maximum strength of tropical cyclones will change as a result of global warming. For the first time, Knutson and his colleagues dare to give a clear answer to this much-discussed question. They cannot yet make any statements about the frequency of typhoons or their average strength. But, according to Thomas Knutson, "we say that the strongest hurricanes in the Northwest Pacific will intensify in the event of warming."
The computer simulation assumed that the sea surface temperature would rise by 2.2 degrees Celsius, which the researchers believe could happen in just under a hundred years. They see the difference to previous approaches in the fact that for the first time a global climate simulation model was coupled with a regional hurricane forecast model, which made more reliable statements possible.