Global warming may be making hurricanes stronger

By By Paige Fieldsted

By Paige Fieldsted

Hurricanes, the most powerful storms in the world, have had an enormous effect on human history. They have wiped out naval fleets, changed the courses of exploration and devastated countries and cities.

Trends have shown that the total power that hurricanes generate has increased during the last 50 years, and research done by Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, shows that this may be due to global warming.

“There has been a large upswing in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes beginning in 1995,” Emanuel said in a written statement. “This corresponds to an upswing in tropical North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures.”

Emanuel will present his research and theories at the Frontiers of Science lecture today at 7:30 p.m.

“(Emanuel) is perhaps the world’s leading expert on the history and science of hurricanes,” said Edward Zipser, professor of meteorology.

Emanuel has published two books and more than 100 peer-review papers on the topic and was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s “100 people who shape our world.”

Students, faculty and community members are encouraged to attend the lecture.

“Anyone interested in one of the great scientific success stories of our time ought to be intrigued by how we now forecast hurricane tracks with good accuracy,” Zipser said.