July 14, 2008
Science reports on new hurricane model
ScienceDaily (July 9, 2008) — A new mathematical model indicates that dust devils, water spouts, tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones are all born of the same mechanism and will intensify as climate change warms the Earth's surface. HT Eric, Climate Change Group
University of Michigan professor Nilton Renno and UM research scientist Natalia Andronova have created a generalization of Bernoulli's equation to address all spiralling storms. It more accurate calculates the maximum expected intensity of spiraling storms based on the depth of the troposphere and the temperature and humidity of the air in the storm's path. The model improves upon current thermodynamic models by using actual measurements of the energy feeding a storm system and friction slowing it down rather than make simplifying assumptions about those variables.
"This model allows us to relate changes in storms' intensity to
environmental conditions," Renno said. "It shows us that climate
change could lead to increases in how efficient convective vortices
are and how much energy they transform into wind. Fueled by warmer
and moister air, there will be stronger and deeper storms in the
future that reach higher into the atmosphere."
The model predicts that each increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will increase storm intensity by at least several percent. The destruction power of intense storms could increase by 10%. This prediction provides theoretical support for the empirical observations of scientists who suggest that hurricance intensity has increased as sea surface temperatures have risen.
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