Apr 8, 1987

The dependence of hurricane intensity on climate

Kerry Emanuel

Represents the first study to show increasing potential intensity in most places as the world warms, with an average trend of about 10 miles per hour for every °C of tropical sea surface temperature incease

  • States tropical cyclones rank with earthquakes as the major geophysical causes of loss of life and property
  • Uses a simple Carnot cycle model to estimate the maximum intensity of tropical cyclones under the somewhat warmer conditions expected to result from increased atmospheric CO2 content
  • Estimates based on August mean conditions over the tropical oceans predicted by a general circulation model with twice the present CO2 content yield a 40–50% increase in the destructive potential of hurricanes