Climate change could be driving tropical storms to become more powerful and rainier as the climate warms, but they would also become less common, according to a 2012 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that we might not be so lucky.
According to a report from Time, the report argues that tropical cyclones are likely to become both stronger and more frequent as the climate warms, especially in the western North Pacific, and the North Atlantic won’t be spared either.
Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the author of the study, simulated 600 storms on his climate model between 1950 and 2005, and then ran the model forward to 2100, using an IPCC forecast of global carbon dioxide transmissions (which it expects will triple by the end of the century).
The simulations found that the frequency of tropical cyclones will increase by 10 to 40 percent by 2100, and the intensity of storms will increase by 45 percent by the end of the century. Storms that actually make landfall (and cause widespread property damage) will increase by 55 percent.