Extreme storms may soon become more common as tropical oceans heat up due to climate change, NASA study
- Researchers studied 15 years of NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder data
- They found that extreme storms form when the mean sea surface time exceeds 82F
- Probability increases by 21% for every additional 1.8 degree, study says
Warming of the tropical oceans in the coming decades could lead to more extreme rainstorms by the end of the century, according to a new study.
A NASA study using 15 years of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data found a link between higher temperatures of the tropical sea surface and severe storms.
It is the first time scientists have quantified how hotter waters can affect the frequency of storms, and the team behind the study warns that climate change will only make things worse.
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Warming of the tropical oceans in the coming decades could lead to more extreme rainstorms by the end of the century, according to a new study. File photo
The new study was led by a team from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Using more than a decade of data AIRs, they have managed to narrow the relationship between extreme rainstorms and average sea surface temperatures.
Extreme storms, according to researchers, are those that produce at least 0.12 inches of rain per hour over an area of 25 kilometers.
Data show that these storms form when sea surface temperatures surpass 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).
And for every 1.8 additional degrees, storms increase by 21%.
"It's a little common sense that severe storms will increase in a warmer environment," said Hartmut Aumann of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
'Storms typically occur in the hottest season of the year. But our data provide the first quantitative estimate of how much they can increase, at least for the tropical oceans.
Current climate models estimate that surface temperatures of the tropical oceans could rise to 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
A NASA study using 15 years of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data found a link between higher temperatures of the tropical sea surface and severe storms. Extreme storms are those that produce at least 0.12 inches of rain per hour over an area of 16 miles
WHAT WILL CLIMATE CHANGE MAKE OUR OCEAN?
Climate change will contribute to acidification of the oceans, according to the National Ocean Service.
This change can be attributed to higher levels of emerging greenhouse gases as a result of human activities.
Climate change affects the ocean in many ways.
A new study has found that methane explosions in a region off the coast of Norway are not caused by climate change, as previously thought. However, scientists are warning that the effects of man-made climate change still persist (archive photo)
It can cause sea level to rise and corals at sea be choked.
Climate change can also affect ocean currents and cause turbid water conditions – with reduced amounts of light, according to the National Ocean Service.
The organization provided the following tips to reduce the amount of damage to the oceans:
- Eat sustainable seafood.
- Refrain from dumping household chemicals into storm sewers.
- Drive as little as possible.
- Print less.
- Help with beach cleanings.
This means that the frequency of extreme storms can increase by up to 60%, warn the researchers.
"Our results quantify and give a more visual meaning to the consequences of the predicted warming of the oceans," Aumann said.
"More storms mean more flooding, more damage to the structure, more damage to plantations and so on, unless mitigation measures are implemented."