UH study predicts more severe impacts from cyclones in the future

File image: Tropical cyclones over Pacific waters
File image: Tropical cyclones over Pacific waters(UH)
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 9:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A study by researchers at the University of Hawaii Manoa is pointing to some ominous weather threats for Hawaii in the future.

Researchers are predicting stronger tropical cyclones will make landfall in the Pacific in the future because of rising CO2 levels.

They say Global Warming will lower the overall number of storms, but those that do develop and reach Category 3 strength or higher will be more intense in terms of rainfall and higher sea levels.

“Our new model simulations show an approximate doubling of the risk of landfalling tropical cyclones in Hawaiʻi if CO2 concentrations are doubled” said Malte Stuecker, assistant professor of oceanography at UH Manoa. “Flood risk and storm surge will be much intensified in coastal areas.”

The decades long study involved supercomputers running climate model simulations.

Recent technology upgrades have allowed scientists to compute atmospheric and ocean interaction on a global scale.

“A future reduction of rising motion in the tropical atmosphere will make it more difficult for tropical cyclones to develop, which explains the projected future suppression in tropical cyclone seeds and overall numbers in the Pacific and Indian Ocean,” explained Sun-Seon Lee, who conducted the simulations on Aleph.

“Interestingly, the simulated pattern of future tropical cyclone changes is quite similar to the recent observed trends, which supports the notion that global warming is already altering global extreme weather.”

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