More Severe Storms Coming To North Atlantic
December 1, 2012

Researcher: North Atlantic To Experience More Intense Tropical Storms

April Flowers for — Your Universe Online

[ Watch the Video: The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season in 4.5 Minutes ]

During the rest of this century, tropical storms that strike the East Coast of the U.S. from the North Atlantic will likely become more intense, according to the prediction of a new study from the University of Iowa.

The authors say this study, recently published online in the journal Climate, is a compilation of results from some of the best available computer models of climate.

“We wanted to conduct the study because intense tropical cyclones can harm people and property,” Gabriele Villarini, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering says. “The adverse and long-lasting influence of such storms recently was demonstrated by the damage Hurricane Sandy created along the East Coast.”

Using output from 17 state-of-the-art global climate models and three different potential scenarios, Villarini, and his colleague Gabriel Vecchi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) examined projected changes in the North Atlantic Power Dissipation Index (PDI), which integrates storm intensity, duration, and frequency.

“We found that the PDI is projected to increase in the 21st century in response to both greenhouse gas increases and reductions in particulate pollution over the Atlantic over the current century. By relating these results to other findings in a paper we published May 13, 2012 in the journal Nature Climate Change, we found that, while the number of storms is not projected to increase, their intensity is,” Villarini says.

“Moreover, our results indicate that as more carbon dioxide is emitted, the stronger the storms get, while scenarios with the most aggressive carbon dioxide mitigation show the smallest increase in intensity,” he says.

Partial funding for this study was provided by the Iowa Flood Center.