The world could see as many as 20 additional hurricanes and tropical storms each year by the end of the century because of climate change, says a study out today.
The study was published Monday in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS), written by top climate researcher Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
On average, about 90 tropical cyclones form each year around the world, Emanuel says. ("Tropical cyclone" is an umbrella term that includes hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones, which are all the same type of storm that have different labels depending on where they form.)
One of the biggest debates in the climate change research community in recent years has been the projected impact of global warming on hurricanes. Will it make them stronger? More frequent? Longer lasting?
Emanuel's study used six newly upgraded global climate computer models to simulate future hurricane activity around the world. His study found that these killer storms will not only increase in intensity during the 21st century, as many previous studies had predicted, but will also increase in frequency in most locations.