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Hurricane Risk In Northeastern Coast Of U.S. Increasing Due To Industrial Emissions

First Posted: Nov 24, 2016 03:40 AM EST
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The Northeastern coast of the United States could be hit often by powerful hurricanes in the future due to shifting weather patterns. This is caused by the expansion of atmospheric circulation belts driven by heightened carbon dioxide emissions, according to researchers.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. It was led by researchers from Durham University, U.K., and the University of New Mexico. The team of researchers discovered that hurricanes gradually moved north from the western Caribbean toward North America over the past hundred years.

They said that New York and other major cities on the northeast coast of the U.S. would be under threat from these hurricanes. They also advise them to prepare for these calamities that might hit them, according to Phys.Org.

The team discovered that the average number of hurricanes at the Belize site reduced in that time. Meanwhile, data from Bermuda and Florida indicated that hurricanes were moving north rather than reducing in total number across the North Atlantic. They also said that the cooling of the Northern Hemisphere due to heightened industrial aerosol emission should have pushed the hurricane tracks southward since industrialization, according to the University of New Mexico.

Yemane Asmeron, a professor in UNM's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said that they can show changing storm trajectories that correlate with anthropogenic influences on climate systems since the industrial revolution. He further explained that this is facilitated by two significant analytical aspects of the project. These involve the development of a proxy for tropical cyclone (hurricane) events in the past using very high-resolution carbon and oxygen isotope records, matched by few other such records derived from tropical stalagmite and the incredibly precise age model.

The team found that the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide had dominated this effect by expanding the Hadley cell. This is the pattern of circulating air in the Earth's tropical belt. This has pushed the hurricane tracks further north, away from the western Caribbean toward the northeastern coast of the United States. The researchers added that this shift was mostly driven by man-made emissions. If emissions continue as expected, this will result in more frequent and powerful storms.

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