Does Global Warming Effect Hurricane Frequency and Intensity?

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Debates over the impact of global warming on weather patterns around the globe have been the source of intense scrutiny in recent years. One such debate that has seen increased attention in the scientific community is: What impact does global warming have on hurricane frequency and intensity? Since the especially intense hurricane season in 2005 that spawned the devastating storms of “Katrina” and “Rita” this question has spawned a lot of media attention as well. However before we can even begin to answer the question posed by the title of the paper we must first explore; What is a hurricane? How it is formed? And we must also examine what is meant by the term global warming? Firstly hurricanes, otherwise known as tropical-cyclones, are formed over warm ocean waters of at least 26.5ºC through depths of at least 45m. There must also be a high Coriolis Effect present such as there is just north and south of the equator. (Moran, 2011) Hurricanes begin as smaller storms called tropical disturbances, if the storm experiences a sufficient loss in surface air pressure coinciding with a strengthening sustained wind the storm is then upgraded to a tropical depression. As the storm continues to intensify and the wind speeds reach 63km/h it then becomes a tropical storm and is finally given a name. When the storm continues to grow in strength and reaches wind speeds of 119km/h it then becomes a hurricane. (Moran,2011) Global warming is described as an increase of average temperature throughout the globe over an extended period of time. Typically when scientists use the term global warming they use it to describe rising temperatures due to human actions such as the burning of fossil fuels and release of aerosols into the atmosph... ... middle of paper ... ...f America, Boston MA: The American Meteorological Society. Larson, C. (2008, September). Global Warming and Hurricanes: Is It a Trend? [Article]. Retrieved from Today's Science database. Larson, C. (2005, August). Hurricanes and Global Warming: Is There a Link? [Article]. Retrieved from Today's Science database. Ming, Z., & Held, I. M. (2010). An Analysis of the Effect of Global Warming on the Intensity of Atlantic Hurricanes Using a GCM with Statistical Refinement. Journal of Climate, 23(23), 6382-6393. doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3837.1 Kunzig, R. (2006). Hurricanes Intensify Global-Warming Debate. Discover, 27(1), 20-23. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Emanuel, K., Sundararajan, R., & Williams, J. (2008). HURRICANES AND GLOBAL WARMING. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89(3), 347-367. doi:10.1175/BAMS-89-3-347 Retrieved from EBSCOhost

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