Typhoons Moving Toward Poles, Scientists Say

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The shift in location of tropical storms is seen in historical records.

Tropical storms appear headed for the Poles, peaking in ferocity at successively higher latitudes over the past three decades, according to a new study in the journal Nature

Climate scientists generally predict that tropical storms (called hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones, depending on the ocean where they form) will increase in power but decline in frequency in coming decades due to global warming.

But the storms also appear to be on the move—driven by warmer oceans and wind-shear changes in the upper atmosphere—according to the Nature study, led by James Kossin of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. "The poleward trends are evident in the global historical data," says the study.

Looking at satellite observations from 1982 to 2009—averaged across eight ocean basins—the researchers located the peak intensity of tropical cyclones, which they determined was occurring farther away from the equator.

Written By: Dan Vergano
continue to source article at news.nationalgeographic.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting data that has slightly changed since previous predictions of 5- 10 years ago which said storms would both increase in ferocity and in frequency….this is saying the frequency will decline…..that’s an about face…..either way bigger stronger storms are here to stay and will likely get stronger as warming increases…Alan can you explain ?

    • In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

      I think the graph on the video tells its own story. Quite clearly increased heat energy and a greater contrast between warm and cold atmosphere, produces more powerful storms. The climate belts are moving towards the poles as the Earth warms, so it should be no surprise that the hurricanes migrat…

      But why are they declining in frequency ?

      • Probably related to a spatial decline in temperature gradient. As the warmer temperature around the equator moves towards the poles, the overall surface temperature of the planet becomes more uniform- thus less likelihood of developing extreme temperature gradients. But where the gradient becomes extreme- closer to the poles, the intensity of the hurricanes etc. will also increase. jcw

        In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

        In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

        I think the graph on the video tells its own story. Quite clearly increased heat energy and a greater contrast between warm and cold atmosphere, produces more powerful storms. The climate belts are moving towards the poles as the Earth warms, so it should be no…

        • GRR! Edit doesn’t work!

          basically what Alan said but with emphasis on the spatial and more homogeneous properties of a larger area resulting in less extreme variations would explain the decrease in frequency.jcw
          In reply to #4 by kaiserkriss:

          Probably related to a spatial decline in temperature gradient. As the warmer temperature around the equator moves towards the poles, the overall surface temperature of the planet becomes more uniform- thus less likelihood of developing extreme temperature gradients. But where the gradient becomes e…

  2. If this trend holds, the economic and human damage is likely to increase as hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons impact the more populated areas farther north, away from their historical areas of destruction where humans are more or less prepared for them. And as far as the frequency decline – that’s no silver lining. It only takes one major hurricane to do lasting – even permanent – damage. Imagine a Cat 5 hurricane hitting New York City or the Jersey shore, or sideswiping Boston, or crossing the Atlantic and churning up the English Channel. New Orleans still hasn’t recovered from Katrina. Imagine the Long Island shore and Manhattan under 20 feet of debris-filled water driven by 150 to 175 mph winds. We got a little preview of what that might be like with Sandy, but Sandy was a pathetic little blip on the weather map compared to a Cat 5. I like to picture the expression on the climate-change-deniers’ faces when this happens, but unfortunately it will be the poor and disadvantaged who will suffer the most. Wealthy douchebags will just watch from afar and blame the masses for their inability to escape.

    • In reply to #7 by Sue Blue:

      If this trend holds, the economic and human damage is likely to increase as hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons impact the more populated areas farther north, away from their historical areas of destruction where humans are more or less prepared for them. And as far as the frequency decline – that’s…

      This wasn’t a popular opinion but I always thought it was a mistake to rebuild New Orleans the way they did. The rational thing to do would be to admit that having a city that is just naturally below sea level doesn’t make a lot of sense given the inevitable changes that are coming via climate change. Rather than trying to build up more and stronger levies I think the rational thing to do would have been to find homes for the people who were displaced elsewhere and let some of the land that was destroyed just go back to being wetlands, something we need a lot more of anyway.

  3. There is a bunch of threads here I really don’t want to see woven together. Super rapid glacier loss and sea level rise and this increased storm damage in higher latitudes. Taken together most major ports will be stuffed.

    All we need now is to see the creation of a centuries long, self-sustaining typhoon in the North Atlantic. That will be decidedly unJovial.

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