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Home » Could Human-Made Emissions Produce Stronger Hurricanes?

Could Human-Made Emissions Produce Stronger Hurricanes?


As the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere continue to increase, scientists have noted not only an increase in atmospheric temperatures but an increase in sea surface temperatures as well. It is well known that sea surface temperature is one of the primary drivers of hurricanes. Assumably, if the strength of a hurricane closely correlates with sea surface temperatures, then warmer temperatures will produce stronger hurricanes. Using this statistical understanding, it can be inferred that the warming of sea surface temperatures will result in stronger hurricanes. In a new Geophysical Research Letters article, Trenary and MAPP-funded PIs Timothy DelSole, Suzana Camargo, and Michael Tippett, analyzed eleven climate models to observe if hurricane intensity increased from human-related emissions between 1958-2005. Of the eleven models analyzed, it was found that seven models predicted a change in hurricane intensity in response to greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions. However, the results from the models were inconsistent with one another, with one predicting a decreased trend in hurricane potential intensity and two predicting an increased trend in hurricane potential intensity. These findings indicate that the changes to hurricane intensities cannot be attributed to human-related activities. It’s noted that as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, North Atlantic hurricane potential intensity may respond in the future.

This study was supported by the Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections (MAPP) Program.

Read the study here>>


About MAPP
The Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program is a competitive research program in NOAA Research’s Climate Program Office. MAPP’s mission is to enhance the Nation’s and NOAA’s capability to understand, predict, and project variability and long-term changes in Earth’s system and mitigate human and economic impacts. To achieve its mission, MAPP supports foundational research, transition of research to applications, and engagement across other parts of NOAA, among partner agencies, and with the external research community. MAPP plays a crucial role in enabling national preparedness for extreme events like drought and longer-term climate changes. For more information, please visit

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