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Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones

It is clear that climate change increases the upper limit on hurricane strength and rain rate and that it also.....Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones

It is clear that climate change increases the upper limit on hurricane strength and rain rate and that it also raises the average sea level and therefore storm surge.

  • Creating grounds:
    • Temperature:
      • Climate change would have caused the earth to become much hotter if it weren’t for the oceans. 
      • However, over the past 40 years, the ocean has absorbed 90% of the warming brought on by emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. 
      • Near the water’s surface, the majority of this ocean heat is concentrated. 
      • Stronger winds and increased storm severity may result from this added heat. 
    • Moisture:
      • Additionally, a storm’s ability to produce more rainfall can increase due to climate change. 
      • A warmer environment can store more moisture, thus water vapour accumulates until clouds form and raindrops are released, sending down heavy rain.
    • Intensification of storms:
      • The increase in a warming climate will increase wind speeds and the proportion of storms that intensify into powerful Category 4 or 5 storms will increase.
    • Sea level rise:
      • Rising temperatures are causing a rise in sea levels, which increases the water height. As water height increases, the stormwater is able to reach deeper territories.
    • Slowing speed of the storm:
      • The speed of the storm can be an important factor in total rainfall amounts at a given location. Slower speed provides a longer period of time for the rain to accumulate.
    • Studies have shown that the speed of storms has slowed down but the possible mechanisms are not yet understood.
    • Merger of storms:
      • In an increasingly warming world, a merger between two large tropical storms over any of the global oceans could lead to the formation of a mega cyclone.
  • The greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2–11 per cent along with 34 per cent decrease in the average frequency of tropical cyclones by 2100.
  • National Institute of Oceanography in Visakhapatnam found that upper ocean heat content plays an important role in intensification of cyclones.
  • Frequency of hurricanes:
    • The normal “season” for hurricanes is changing as a result of climate change since more months of the year are becoming storm-friendly.
      • Additionally, hurricanes are making landfall in places that deviate greatly from the historical norm. 
    • However, it’s uncertain whether climate change is having an impact on the frequency of storms. 
Implications for the World
  • Increased damage: More intense storms can have a bigger impact on lives and economies. The impact of a Category 4 storm is roughly 256 times that of a category 1 storm.
  • Unreliable forecasts: Fast changing nature of storms has made traditional forecast methods ineffective. This has affected precautionary measures.
  • Change in impact area: New research shows that the location where storms reach their maximum intensity is moving poleward.
    • This would have important implications for the location of the storms’ main impacts.
  • Increased frequency of storms: The number of hurricanes that form each year may change in future.
    • However, there is no definitive theory explaining the number of storms in the current climate, or how it will change in the future.
FAQs on Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones:
Ques 1. How does climate change impact the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones?

Ans. Climate change can lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones. Warmer ocean temperatures provide more energy for cyclone formation and intensification, potentially resulting in more frequent and stronger storms.

Ques 2. What are the potential consequences of the interaction between climate change and tropical cyclones?

Ans. The interaction between climate change and tropical cyclones can lead to more devastating impacts. The rising sea levels due to global warming can exacerbate storm surges and flooding associated with cyclones, posing greater risks to coastal communities.

Ques 3. Are there any observed trends in tropical cyclone behavior due to climate change?

Ans. Over recent years, there have been indications of changes in tropical cyclone behavior attributed to climate change. Some regions have witnessed an increase in the number of intense cyclones, longer storm seasons, and a tendency for cyclones to reach higher latitudes, affecting areas not traditionally prone to cyclones. However, further research is ongoing to understand these trends better.

Read Also : What is Anticyclone?


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