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Friday, December 30, 2011

Does global climate change affect hurricanes?

If Gore's SUV is heating up the earth, what is heating up the solar system?

Climate change, yes, global warming, no.

A possible Goreism article:

by Eliot Kleinberg
Posted 4 p.m. Dec. 29, 2011
Christopher Landsea, science and operations specialist for the National Hurricane Centerand a scholar of hurricane history, has again weighed in on whether global climate change affects hurricane formation:

Hurricanes and Global Warming

Opinion piece by Christopher W. Landsea1
November 2011

Hurricanes are natural heat engines. They extract energy from the moist, warm air over the tropical and subtropical oceans, liberate this energy in the process of forming clouds and rainfall, but lose most of this energy in the cold exhaust of the cyclone in the upper part (~8 mi, or ~12 km) of the atmosphere. A very small percentage (less than 1%)5 of this released energy is used to warm the air within the hurricane, drop the air's density and pressure, and cause the swirling winds to spin faster and faster.

      It's also important to point out that ocean temperatures are not the only factor that is crucial in knowing which disturbances will develop into a tropical storm and which systems will intensify to become extremely strong hurricanes. Other physical "ingredients" in the hurricane "recipe" include moist air and numerous thunderstorms, weak vertical wind shear (the difference in winds near the ocean versus the upper part of the atmosphere), and a triggering disturbance (in the Atlantic this is often from an African easterly wave in the atmosphere)6

Any manmade alterations to the air's moisture, thunderstorm activity, vertical shear, and originating disturbances may be as or even more important that changes to the ocean temperatures themselves. All climate models predict that for every degree of warming at the ocean that the air temperature aloft will warm around twice as much7. This is important because if global warming only affected the earth's surface, then there would be much more energy available for hurricanes to tap into. But, instead, warming the upper atmosphere more than the surface along with some additional moisture near the ocean means that the energy available for hurricanes to access increases by just a slight amount. Moreover, the vertical wind shear is also supposed to increase, making it more difficult (not easier) for hurricanes to form and intensify8.

Video of this presentation

Hurricanes as the Poster-Child for Global Warming
      Hurricanes have been depicted as the literal poster-child of the harmful impacts of global warming. Without argument, hurricanes (which also include storms known as "typhoons" in the Northwest Pacific and "severe tropical cyclones" in the Indian and Southwest Pacific) are extremely destructive and often responsible for the deaths of hundreds and occasionally thousands of people. As an example, Hurricane Katrina was responsible for the death of ~1200 and about $108 billion in damages.2 The before and after pictures of the home of David and Kimberly King of Waveland, Mississippi show the incredible power of that hurricane's storm surge and winds.
Move the mouse over the image to see the "after" picture
      Certainly, if there are any significant effects of global warming on hurricanes either today or in coming decades, these need to be understood and addressed.
Global Warming is Real

      As a preamble, I definitely agree that global warming has occurred (around a degree F [or half degree C] in the last several decades at the earth's surface).
      Also there is substantial evidence - in my view - that mankind has caused a significant portion of this warming through greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane. I do not know whether the human contribution toward the warming is relatively small (~a quarter) or large (~two-thirds), but do agree that there is quite a bit of evidence that mankind is altering the global climate and will continue to do so in the future.
      If the consensus of the various global climate models are to be believed for scenarios of "business as usual" greenhouse gas emissions, then the tropical and subtropical oceans will warm up by 4-6 °F (2-3 °C) by the end of the century3. It is assumed here that this is correct. (Such a stance presumes that a quite sizable vicious cycle of warming due to cloud and moisture effects will occur, much beyond what the greenhouse gases are capable of in isolation. While these self-reinforcing cycles are predicted by many global climate models, it is not guaranteed that this will occur and there are credible researchers4 who have analyzed a substantially weaker vicious cycle from observational data than suggested by these computer models. Thus there remains a large range of the amount of global warming to be expected in the future due to manmade changes in my view.) What does, then, a 1°F (0.5°C) ocean temperature change today and a potential 4-6°F (2-3 °C) warming by the end of the 21st Century mean for hurricanes?

Source: NOAA  Do trust them?

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1 comment:

  1. I think global warming affects everything, including hurricanes, and the graphs p-rove my suggestion right. Thanks for the post


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