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Published on Nov 2, 2010
This animation illustrates the factors likely to influence Atlantic hurricanes under CO2 induced global warming. On the one hand, the oceans are projected to warm, increasing the thermodynamic potential of hurricanes. On the other hand, vertical wind shear is projected to increase, the effect of which should be in the opposite sense to that of the warming oceans. What is the effect of both factors together?
Even though the effect of each factor in isolation is well established, the net effect of warming oceans and increased shear on Atlantic hurricane intensity and frequency is yet to be understood.
It is also important to note that the model-projected increase in vertical wind shear is limited to the East Pacific and Tropical Atlantic, with other regions showing a decrease in wind shear.