Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Super-Storms on the Rise

Although the mechanisms that spawn violent storms aren't fully understood, one key factor is the temperature of the world's oceans. Global warming has pushed the temperature of large areas of the ocean to around 27 degrees Centigrade or warmer during summer months. James McCarthy, a professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University sees this as a catalyst for more and more intense tropical hurricanes and cyclones. Water reaching these temperatures evaporates more readily, priming hurricane and cyclone formation and helping maintain the strength and intensity of newly formed storms. This Inter Press article by Stephen Leahy points out the correlations between climate change and extreme weather and argues that green energy to control global warming may help diminish future risks of severe storms.