Ocean currents show tropical cyclone intensification

Ocean currents show tropical cyclone intensification

Tropical cyclones can wreak havoc on coastal communities when they make landfall, and 70 percent of them are weak tropical cyclones.

But a recent study published in Nature points out that weak tropical cyclones have intensified in all ocean basins over the past 30 years due to ocean warming.

Theoretical and mathematical models consistently find that tropical cyclones intensify with increasing sea surface temperatures.

However, this conclusion has been controversial due to the lack of sufficiently accurate satellite-based observational evidence.

Traditional satellite-based evidence can be contaminated by heavy rainfall, cloud cover, breaking waves and droplets.

But researchers have used a unique set of ocean current observations – high-quality current data measured by a floating device called a surface drifter – to supplement the traditional approach and quantify the strength of tropical cyclones in a completely new way.

Tropical cyclones are closely related to ocean currents, and the floaters deployed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provide very accurate measurements of ocean currents.

The analysis shows that weak tropical cyclones have intensified between 1991 and 2020 due to global warming.

The above results can be used as baseline values to evaluate the simulation and forecast results of tropical cyclone models and help improve the accuracy of the forecast.

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