How might climate change affect the distribution, frequency and intensity of tropical storms?
Rising global temperatures will lead to an increase in the occurrence and severity of tropical storms
Global temperatures are expected to increase as a result of climate change. This means that more of the world’s oceans could be above 27 °C, so more places in the world may experience tropical storms.
Oceans will stay at 27 °C or higher for more of the year, so the number of tropical storms each year could increase.
A warmer atmosphere will mean more moisture in the air, so heavy rainfall is expected to increase.
With an increase in heavy rainfall as tropical storms become more destructive, an increase in flooding looks likely.
Sea levels will rise as temperatures increase due to thermal expansion. Increasing sea levels mean storm surges are expected to become higher.
Higher temperatures also mean higher-intensity tropical storms with higher wind speeds, which could cause more damage. Also, there is evidence that extra water vapour in the atmosphere makes storms wetter. During the past 25 years, satellites have measured a 4 per cent rise in water vapour in the air.
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