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Will Global Warming Make Hurricane Forecasting More Difficult?

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  • 1 Lorenz Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Hurricane track forecasts have improved steadily over the past few decades, yet forecasting hurricane intensity remains challenging. Of special concern are the rare instances of tropical cyclones that intensify rapidly just before landfall, catching forecasters and populations off guard, thereby risking large casualties. Here, we review two historical examples of such events and use scaling arguments and models to show that rapid intensification just before landfall is likely to become increasingly frequent and severe as the globe warms.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR E-MAIL: Kerry Emanuel, emanuel@mit.edu

Abstract

Hurricane track forecasts have improved steadily over the past few decades, yet forecasting hurricane intensity remains challenging. Of special concern are the rare instances of tropical cyclones that intensify rapidly just before landfall, catching forecasters and populations off guard, thereby risking large casualties. Here, we review two historical examples of such events and use scaling arguments and models to show that rapid intensification just before landfall is likely to become increasingly frequent and severe as the globe warms.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR E-MAIL: Kerry Emanuel, emanuel@mit.edu
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