Senin, 08 September 2008

Strong Hurricanes Get Stronger

This week marks the peak of the hurricane season for 2008. And a new study just published in Nature shows that the strongest hurricanes are getting stronger. The strongest storms now have peak wind speeds that average 16 miles/hour faster than back in 1981 (see “The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones.” Nature Sept. 4, 2008, pp. 92-95.) The article is not suitable for students, however, unless they have a strong background in statistics.

Over the same time period (1981-2006), the sea surface temperatures have risen by 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Most climatologists believe that warmer waters are certain to lead to stronger storms, because hurricanes derive their energy from the heat of warm surface waters.

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