Hurricanes and typhoons are shifting from the tropics toward the North and South poles

This new study establishes another link between global climate change and global tropical cyclone activity.

As reported in a new study published today (May 14, 2014) in the journal Nature, tropical storms don’t peak in the tropics as often as they did 30 years ago. Instead, more and more storms are reaching their maximum strength at higher latitudes. In other words, the tropics are becoming less hospitable for tropical cyclones, and the higher latitudes (north and south) are becoming less hostile as shown in the picture below.

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Tropical storm (hurricanes and typhoons) tracks between 1985 and 2005. By: NASA

These new results, based on the an analysis of historical storm data reveals that the tropics have widened by about a degree in latitude each decade since 1979 due to global warming and ozone loss. This expansion also could have pushed the ideal storm-forming regions toward the North and South poles.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that ferocious storms will be hitting the Atlantic coastline more often. Indeed, climate change could also change wind patterns thus moving tropical storms away from coastlines. Let see what’s coming toward us in the next decades!

Find the research publication here and a résumé here.

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