Essay: Hurricanes and Global Warming

Pages: 2 (681 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Weather  ·  Buy This Paper

Hurricanes and Global Warming

The 2005 season saw the largest number (27) of named storms (sustained winds over 17 m s -- 1) and the largest number (14) of hurricanes (sustained winds over 33 m s -- 1), and it was the only year with three category 5 storms (maximum sustained winds over 67 m s -- 1) (Anthes, et al., 2006). This has provided a strong incentive for researchers to better understand the relationship between tropical storms, hurricanes, and global warming. The costs of storms such as Katrina are in the hundreds of billion dollars and could potentially become more commonplace since the climate is a state of rapid warming.

Human activities have resulted in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and well as changing land use patterns. Greenhouse house gases accumulate in the atmosphere and increase the amount of heat trapped by the sun due to the properties of the GHGs. Land use patterns have resulted in a situation in which many heavily wood areas such as forests have been cleared for farm land among other uses. Trees and other vegetation helps soak up much of the carbon that is in the atmosphere and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen which indirectly reduces the greenhouse gas concentration.

The effects on global warming on storms has been somewhat downplayed recently in the media although the relationship is not fully understood. The idea has been presented that global warming does not have any significant relationship with hurricanes and other storm systems. However, this is misleading because there may be important aspects of the potential relationship are overlooked or downplayed. Furthermore, this could make society more vulnerable to hurricane damage and therefore, even though there is still a high level of uncertainty, researchers should take the potential relationship between climate change and storm frequency and intensity seriously.

Global and tropical atmospheric temperatures near the Earth's surface as well as in the atmosphere are increasing which also increases the amount of water vapor (Anthes, et al., 2006). Most researchers believe this is due… [END OF PREVIEW]

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