The effects of Sea-Surface Temperatures on North Atlantic Hurricanes

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The effects of Sea-Surface Temperatures on North Atlantic Hurricanes
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Is global warming causing an increase in the number or the intensity of hurricanes? This is a question that has been on many people’s minds the past several years. Many studies have been conducted to look at the potential effects of global warming on hurricanes. This review attempts to examine three studies that all compare past changes in sea-surface temperature with changes in hurricane numbers, intensity, and power. These studies provide some insight into the debate on whether or not global warming is having an impact on recent hurricanes. This review will discuss the findings of these studies and offer some discussion on the
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I did, however, focus on studies that focused on the Atlantic Ocean basin and changes in sea-surface temperatures (SST).

In order to determine if global warming is having an impact on hurricanes, we must first understand what natural variations and connections may be occurring. This means that we must examine past changes in climate and see how hurricanes have been affected. This will allow us to remove the natural variability from the trend and just focus on the human changes. Briefly, these are the studies that will be looked at in this review. Goldberg et al. examined the link between SSTs in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and hurricane activity, as well as a link between the vertical shear of the horizontal wind and hurricane activity (2001). Emanuel determined the “Power Dissipation Index” (PDI) of hurricane seasons and compared them to SST values (2005). Webster et al. looked at global changes in the number of hurricanes and their intensity over the past 35 years (2005). A common theme throughout these studies is that they all examine the effects of SST. This review will look at the various ways that these studies approach this issue, and the conclusions that each study comes to.

First I will look at the study conducted by Goldberg et al. This study examined the trends in hurricanes over about the past 60 years. In this study, Goldberg et al. discuss local and remote climatic
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