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Climate change

Tropical storms not intensifying

Nature volume 515, page 167 (13 November 2014) | Download Citation

The potential intensity of tropical cyclones has not increased in recent decades, contrary to expectations in a warming world.

James Kossin of the US National Climatic Data Center in North Carolina assessed past storm intensity by analysing 30 years of cloud-top temperature data from satellite imagery of tropical cyclones. This removed uncertainties found in other atmospheric analysis techniques. He did not find an increase worldwide in the average potential intensity of storms, even though a warmer climate is thought to support stronger cyclones.

The lack of a trend is largely due to the poleward migration of tropical cyclones into climates that are less able to fuel intense storms than the tropics, Kossin says.

Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. (2014)

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