Hurricanes Will become More Intense and More Dangerous in the Next 10 Years

Hurricanes have been a part of the world’s landscape for thousands of years. The way we see and understand hurricanes has made significant changes over that period. The structure of the atmosphere has also changed with the development of the greenhouse effect and man-made climate change. As a result, hurricanes will become more intense and more dangerous in the coming decade.

Hurricanes can form anywhere in the world because they feed on atmospheric pressure gradients, caused by heights above or below sea level. Many tropical cyclones form in the Western Pacific Ocean, but their influence there is limited due to their high latitude and cold waters. Most tropical cyclones form in the Indian Ocean.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Human activity has changed the Earth’s climate by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This has raised the Earth’s temperature and made weather patterns more extreme. This has been most dramatic in the North American and European regions, where average annual temperature increases of 1°C to 2°C (2.5 to 4.5°F) have been recorded. The majority of this change has been caused by the greenhouse effect, which is caused by the Sun’s increased production of ultraviolet (UV) light. The extra UV light from the greenhouse effect warms the air around us and makes it hotter and drier.

Increase in Sea Surface Temperatures

As the atmosphere warms, it expands or warms up, and sea surface temperatures around the globe. Since water is a good heat conductor, this means that the surface of the ocean is also heated. This heated water evaporates into the atmosphere, causing higher air pressure and a higher atmosphere relative to the land. The greater the amount of heat transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere, the more rapid the warming. In contrast, when the atmosphere is cold, it transfers less heat to the air. As a result, less heat is radiated from the sea surface and therefore sea surface temperature is lower.

Shifting Location of Hurricane Formation

As the world warms, the location of tropical cyclone formation will shift closer to the equator, due to the increase in sea surface temperatures. This will result in higher altitudes where tropical cyclones are more likely to form. In addition, the frequency of tropical cyclones will increase, and with them the chance of impact from these powerful hurricanes.

Stronger Winds and Higher Storm Surge

With climate change comes an increase in the intensity and duration of both wind and storm surges. The increased intensity of tropical cyclones can also bring about higher storm surges. In addition, the amount of freshwater released by a tropical cyclone can significantly increase, as shown in the animation below.


While the complete details of what is causing these changes are unclear, the evidence points to man-made climate change as the cause. This can be seen in the increase in frequency, strength, and intensity of tropical cyclones as well as the release of greenhouse gases.

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