Eye-popping satellite photo shows Tropical Storm Kay over Southern California. Photo by NASA/Handout via REUTERS
A team of international scientists has published a study pointing out that climate change may cause storms to become increasingly frequent.
And, like the tropical storm that hammered Los Angeles, the storms could become more deadly.
In a study published in Nature Climate Change on Monday, the International Centre for Tropical Ecosystems at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and six international partners reported that storms are both becoming more intense and more frequent, and that their duration could increase by as much as 20 percent.
In many areas, the impacts of climate change are already being felt.
“You find more and more severe storms, more intense storms, stronger storms, and it will be getting more and more intense in future decades,” said David Carlson, who led the University of East Anglia’s study. “This is all happening in regions we have not seen very strong storms in before, in fact.”
Carlson pointed out that many of the places that are the most affected by storms are also regions of the country that face extreme heat waves or floods and are also the most vulnerable to drought or wildfire.
While researchers have been looking at the effects of climate change before, they have not looked at its impact on storms. The study, “Changes in frequency and intensity of tropical storms over the last half-century,” involved examining more than 10,000 years of data compiled from NASA satellites, the German Aerospace Center’s ERS-1 satellite, the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the Tropical Cyclone Information System.
The researchers divided the year into three categories and found that of the three, the last decade was the most active, followed by the first decade. However, they found that storms were getting more intense over the last half century.
For example, in the first decade, the storm intensity was 0.5