Climate Change: Is There Really a Connection Between Hurricanes and Climate Change?

File:Isaac Aug 28 2012 1630Z.jpg

Found at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Isaac_Aug_28_2012_1630Z.jpg

Hurricanes, as we have seen in the past few decades, have the potential to cause a lot of damage – which is why it is particularly concerning when scientists suggest that climate change could actually exacerbate these storms.  Why is this?

First, we have to look into how hurricanes are formed.  Hurricanes are always formed in warm, tropical regions, because they use heat.  The warm water from the topical regions of the ocean evaporates, turning into warm water vapor, which rises and creates a cloud, and more warm water vapor rises to replace it.

File:Hurricane profile.svg

Found at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_profile.svg

The above picture shows the water vapor as it rises, starts to cool and condense into clouds, and then fall as more warm air replaces it.  This creates a spinning of the winds which is the main identifiable characteristic of hurricanes.

The more heat is in the water, the more water can rise, the bigger these clouds get, and the faster the winds spin – therefore, the stronger the hurricane gets.

There has been conclusive scientific evidence suggesting that climate change could greatly exacerbate tropical storms, monsoons, and hurricanes.  We have actually seen storms increase in magnitude over the last few decades.  However, the next question is – would it cause more of these storms?  Logically, it would make sense, because if the oceans are warmer all the time, then the storms should form more often.  However, the winds have to be directed a certain way and other factors are at play, so currently there is not a consensus of evidence suggesting that climate change could cause more storms – but scientists are still looking into it and still uncovering evidence.

Works Cited

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/global-warming-climate-change/threats-impacts/stronger-storms.xml

http://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-21st-century-hurricanes

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/hurricanes-climate.html

http://www.c2es.org/science-impacts/extreme-weather/hurricanes

http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/hurricane1.htm

http://scijinks.jpl.nasa.gov/hurricane/

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