Apr 8, 1987

The dependence of hurricane intensity on climate

by
Kerry Emanuel
,
Nature

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