Simulated Increase of Hurricane Intensities in a CO2-Warmed Climate

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Science  13 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5353, pp. 1018-1021
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5353.1018

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Hurricanes can inflict catastrophic property damage and loss of human life. Thus, it is important to determine how the character of these powerful storms could change in response to greenhouse gas–induced global warming. The impact of climate warming on hurricane intensities was investigated with a regional, high-resolution, hurricane prediction model. In a case study, 51 western Pacific storm cases under present-day climate conditions were compared with 51 storm cases under high-CO2 conditions. More idealized experiments were also performed. The large-scale initial conditions were derived from a global climate model. For a sea surface temperature warming of about 2.2°C, the simulations yielded hurricanes that were more intense by 3 to 7 meters per second (5 to 12 percent) for wind speed and 7 to 20 millibars for central surface pressure.

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