Noted Hurricane Expert Kerry Emanuel has publicly reversed his stance on the impact of Global Warming on Hurricanes. Saying "The models are telling us something quite different from what nature seems to be telling us," Emanuel has released new research indicating that even in a rapidly warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity will not be substantially affected.
"The results surprised me," says Emanuel, one of the media's most quoted figures on the topic.
The view that global warming has limited impact on hurricane strength has been previously reported in numerous DailyTech articles.
Emanuel, professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, is the author of numerous books and research papers on climate change. For over twenty years, he has argued that global warming breeds more frequent and stronger storms. In fact, his 1987 paper is often cited as the first appearance of the theory itself.
His 2005 research -- published just one month before Hurricane Katrina struck -- made world headlines, and was heralded as the "final proof" that Global Warming was already having severe impacts on daily lives. Overnight, Emanuel became a media darling. The following year, Time Magazine named him to their "100 People Who Shape Our World" list.
In 2006, Al Gore used an image of a smokestack spawning a hurricane to promote his movie, An Inconvenient Truth.
Emanuel's newest work, co-authored with two other researchers, simulates hurricane conditions nearly 200 years in the future. The research -- the first to mesh global climate models with small-scale high-resolution simulations of individual storms -- found that while storm strength rises slightly in some areas, it falls in others -- and the total number of worldwide storms actually declines slightly.
Emanuel's reversal is certain to reverberate through political circles as well; many politicians and candidates are using the hurricane threat to compel action on climate change.
quote: Also of concern, he says, is that the increases in storm intensity are mirrored by increases in the average temperatures at the surface of the tropical oceans, suggesting that this warming is responsible for the hurricanes' greater power. Since hurricanes depend on warm water to form and build, Emanuel warns that global climate change might increase the effect of hurricanes still further in coming years.
quote: Earlier in the summer, Emanuel reported that hurricanes have grown more powerful and destructive over the last three decades due in part to global warming...
quote: Hurricanes have grown fiercer in recent decades, spurred by global warming, and even tougher storms are likely on the way, [Emanuel] predicts...
quote: Emanuel’s latest research, published in Nature Magazine, shows a startling global increase in hurricane strength and duration, which he correlates to rising sea temperatures linked to global warming .
quote: his latest research, published in a recent issue of the journal Nature, which correlates the greater increasing hurricane intensity with human-induced global warming...