Climate ups odds of 'grey swan' superstorms

August 31, 2015
From his vantage point high above the earth in the International Space Station, Astronaut Ed Lu captured this broad view of Hurricane Isabel. Credit: NASA

Climate change will boost the odds up to 14-fold for extremely rare, hard-to-predict tropical cyclones for parts of Australia, the United States and Dubai by 2100, researchers said Monday.

The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, used a new approach to predict the frequency and intensity of rare superstorms dubbed "grey swans".

They focused on the high-risk coastal regions of Cairns in northeast Australia, Tampa in south Florida, and Dubai, and used an innovative statistical method to compensate for the lack of historical records.

The analysis by Ning Lin of Princeton University and a colleague showed that surges generated by grey swans striking Tampa or Cairns could reach six metres (20 feet), and four metres for Dubai.

The damage caused by grey swans, as with all cyclones and hurricanes, is mostly from storm surges, which can be enhanced by higher water levels and tides.

Hurricane Katrina, which left 1,500 people dead and caused some $75 billion (68 billion euros) in damages in 2005, exemplified the destructive potential of such surges.

Even though have never been recorded in the Gulf, the researchers found, local conditions suggested there was potential for a massive "once-in-10,000-year" storm.

When —and future increases in sea level—were added to the mix, the chances of a grey swan increased manyfold.

Toward the end of this century (project here for the years 2068 to 2098) the possibility of storm surges of eight to 11 meters (26 to 36 feet) increases significantly in cities not usually expected to be vulnerable to tropical storms, according to recent research in the journal Nature Climate Change. Credit: Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel

For Tampa, for example, the interval for a freak storm—based on a "business-as-usual" scenario of unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions—drops from one every 10,000 years today, to about one every 2,100 years by mid-century, and one every 1,600 years by 2100.

"That means that the likelihood of such a storm in any given year will be between around four and 14 times higher at the end of the century than it is today," Lin said.

The UN's climate science panel says sea levels will rise 26 to 98 centimetres (10 to 39 inches) by century's end.

Explore further: Tenfold increase in hurricane frequency this century, research predicts

More information: Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2777

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gkam
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 31, 2015
The Pentagon warned about these years ago, and started taking steps for alternative sources of fuel and power. Insurance companies are worried.
EWH
1 / 5 (6) Aug 31, 2015
When was the last major hurricane (cat. 3+) to make landfall in the US? It was Wilma in late October 2005, nearly ten years ago. This is the longest stretch without a major hurricane landfall since records began in 1851.
The average over history is around two such hurricanes to hit the US every three years.
This is mostly luck, but on the other hand, according to Timothy Hall of the NASA Goddard Institute: "There has been no significant change in the number of North Atlantic tropical cyclones, the amounts of energy powering them, nor any other hurricane metric."
It had been predicted that there would be more storms with more energy due to warming of the surface waters of the Gulf and tropical Atlantic, but this has not happened, giving additional reason to believe the observed pause in warming is not an error.
leetennant
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 31, 2015
It's true @EWH - the United States is "the globe" and "tropical cyclones worldwide" are actually "North Atlantic Hurricanes". Also, the prediction generally was for *fewer* cyclones of greater intensity and this research is consistent with that. But hey, all these "facts", "logic" and distorted liberal geography just gets in the way.
Vietvet
5 / 5 (9) Aug 31, 2015
@EWH

You don't seem to realize there is more to the world than the U.S..

http://www.weathe...ignacio-
jimena

http://www.weathe...typhoons

EWH
1 / 5 (6) Aug 31, 2015
Looking at Atlantic "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (see Wikipedia), the average annual energy 2006 - 2015 is 91.5 (assuming that 2015 will be 40, over double what it is now)

From 1991 to 2000 it was 108.9, and from 1996 to 2005 it was 150.4.
It bounces around a lot (from 17 in 1983 to 250 in 2005), so while the hurricane energy over the past decade may not be "significantly" different in the statistical sense, it is actually substantially lower than it had been before the pause in warming, and dramatically lower than during the 1996-2005 period.

If the upward-adjusted temperature records of recent years are correct, then the link between severe storms and warming is much weaker than had been thought. If the last decade's upward temperature adjustments have been excessive, then one would expect the storm data to look much as it does.
leetennant
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 31, 2015
*runs to Google Maps*... OMG, you're right! Dubai and Cairns are in the North Atlantic. In fact, only the North Atlantic exists. It's amazing. Damn my socialist/fascist educators with their NWO "maps". And here I was thinking I grew up near the South Pacific and went North to the Coral Sea...
Steve 200mph Cruiz
4.6 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2015
EWH.
They found the "pause" in warming could be attributed by the current in the Indian ocean storing heat. You can find the article on this site. The earth is still getting hotter when you factor together.everything consequential.
Also, the polar regions are still dramatically heating.
EWH
1 / 5 (6) Aug 31, 2015
Looking at the ACE numbers for the Pacific (same WP page), there were 3 above-normal years since 2000 (counting 2015), but 6 below-normal years. In the 16 years before that (1983 - 1999), there were 9 above-average years and only 1 below-average year. So there has been a decline in Pacific typhoon energy recently as well.

If warming hadn't paused, then average seasonal storm energy should have increased, not fallen. So the ACE numbers are consistent with the pause being real.
docile
Aug 31, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
docile
Aug 31, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (5) Aug 31, 2015
You truly have to be lacking grey matter to believe in the "grey swan".
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (8) Aug 31, 2015
docile claimed:
The convective circulation around Earth is quantized into a six convective cells, so that when the atmosphere temperature rises, the circulation cannot switch smoothly, but stepwise - which leads into instability of atmospheric jet streams -

http://www.ucar.e...circ.gif - hence the formation of freak storms at unusual latitudes...


Docile, all you have to do is to publish these findings (and also include your proof of cold fusion as a bonus) and you are on your way to a Nobel prize (or possibly two). Please dazzle us with your expertise and let us know which peer reviewed journal your paper will be published in. Or, you could just be spouting garbage and not have any proof for any of your claims (my money is on you being an ignorant conspiratory theorist). So far you have written nothing but speculation. Your claims make it clear why any statement from you should be discounted.
leetennant
5 / 5 (7) Aug 31, 2015
Meanwhile in the real world...

http://www.smh.co...b82.html
Lex Talonis
5 / 5 (4) Sep 01, 2015
I know, if christianity doesn't fizz out at a useless cult full of stupid people, we could hold a prayer group at the edge of the sea, and hold the storm and the storm surge back by asking for it in Jesus's name.
docile
Sep 01, 2015
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docile
Sep 01, 2015
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runrig
5 / 5 (9) Sep 01, 2015
EWH:
If the upward-adjusted temperature records of recent years are correct, then the link between severe storms and warming is much weaker than had been thought. If the last decade's upward temperature adjustments have been excessive, then one would expect the storm data to look much as it does.


No, you wouldn't if you understood weather/climate.
There is much more at play here than SST's.
Atlantic Hurricanes start off their lives on exit from N Africa .... which is a desert. AND ... has dry tropospheric air aloft it.
Some years this overwhelms the balance and deep-convection struggles to get going as the E'ly jet waves propagate and initiate organisation.
https://en.wikipe...erly_jet
Please note the Hurricane forming over Cape Verde.
http://www.bbc.co...34107755
antigoracle
1 / 5 (4) Sep 01, 2015
Meanwhile in the real world...

http://www.smh.co...b82.html

Someone does not know the difference between weather and climate.
OdinsAcolyte
1 / 5 (6) Sep 01, 2015
I trust foreign government much less than American and I trust American government not at all.
With good and sufficient reason. There shall be no world government. There shall be no world carbon rules. There shall be no science overlords. There is no one of sufficient intelligence to be an environmental expert. None.
The world changes. Live in it or don't. Adapt to your climate or die.
There shall be no cast of people with power and transportation and the rest without. None that live. Find the solution to fusion or shut up.
gkam
3 / 5 (6) Sep 01, 2015
"Adapt to your climate or die. There shall be no cast of people with power and transportation and the rest without. None that live. Find the solution to fusion or shut up."
-------------------------------

Seig Heil!!
runrig
5 / 5 (7) Sep 01, 2015

There shall be no world government. There shall be no world carbon rules. There shall be no science overlords.

Sadly...
With some there shall be no critical thinking or common sense.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Sep 01, 2015
"Adapt to your climate or die. There shall be no cast of people with power and transportation and the rest without. None that live. Find the solution to fusion or shut up."
-------------------------------

Seig Heil!!
These ignorant sniping spit posts seem to be just the kind that thermodynamics and his posse prefer.

As long as they are against his enemies that is.

The mods used to routinely delete them and for good reason.

Theyre nothing more than graffiti posted by wetbrains and FOR wetbrains, apparently.
leetennant
5 / 5 (6) Sep 01, 2015
Meanwhile in the real world...

http://www.smh.co...b82.html

Someone does not know the difference between weather and climate.


Since this is an article on extreme WEATHER it seemed oddly apropos. Are we going to have to have another talk about actually *reading* the articles you comment on?

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