Extreme Weather Increasing

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes
Human activity increasing hurricanes, storms.

This image provided by NOAA taken at 11:45 p.m. EDT Saturday Sept. 6, 2008 shows Hurricane Ike over the Turks and Caicos. At 200 a.m. EDT the large eye of hurricane ike was located over the Turks iand Caicos Islands and about 115 miles east of Great Inagua Island in the southeastern Bahamas. Ike is moving on a motion just south of due west near 15 mph. A west to west-southwest motion is expected to continue today with a turn toward the west-northwest expected on Monday. On this track the core of the hurricane will move over or near the southeastern Bahamas this morning and move near or over eastern Cuba tonight and early Monday. Maximum sustained winds remain near 135 mph with higher gusts. Ike is an extremely dangerous Category Four Hurricane according to forecasters. Some strengthening is possible before Ike moves over eastern Cuba. (AP Photo/NOAA)

Does ocean temperature contribute to extreme weather patterns? According to research, the answer is yes.

A study published in the scientific journal Nature finds that emissions from burning fossil fuels contributed to a rise in ocean surface temperatures. Up nearly one degree Fahrenheit in the Atlantic and Pacific tropics between 1906 and 2005.

And warmer Atlantic and Pacific seas near the tropics have been the cause of increased hurricane activity. According to researchers who did the study, it's the first time scientists have been able to quantify how much of the increase in hurricane activity has to do with warmer sea temperatures.

A rise in surface water temperatures between 1996 and 2005 was responsible for 40% of the increase in Atlantic hurricane activity, the researchers say.

The power and number of hurricanes can vary from year to year. But since the mid-1980s there has been an overall increase in both.


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