Storms have always occurred as far back as can be remembered, but the recent upsurge in the frequency and intensity of storms is a cause for alarm. A storm has been defined as a disturbance in the atmosphere which usually comes in the form of strong winds accompanied by snow, rain or some other type of precipitation. Sometimes, storms are also accompanied by thunder and lightning. There are different types of storms and they include: cyclones, hurricanes, rainstorms, blizzards, tornados, whirlwinds, thunderstorms and lightning. Recently, the connection between global warming and storms has been revealed.
Consequences of Global Warming
The increase in the average temperature of the earths atmosphere is known as global warming. There are several factors that can contribute to this including human activities. The increase in temperature results in several effects with particular emphasis on climate change. Some of the effects of global warming include unstable and unreliable weather, rising levels, human and wildlife displacement and severe storms. These consequences have all made global warming an important subject and the link between global warming and storms will be explored here.
Evidence of Global Warming and Storms
The most common and severe form of storms in the US are hurricanes, and they will be largely used as models. Experts in hurricane behavior have long identified increased ocean heat as an important requirement for hurricane formation. According to a respected hurricane historian, Jay Barnes, increased heat or temperature can lead to more storms and also more intense hurricanes. Furthermore, according to a study carried out by a professor of atmospheric science at MIT in Cambridge, Kerry Emanuel, an increase of about fifty percent has been recorded in the length and intensity of hurricanes within the last thirty years. This can be linked to increased human activities causing global warming.
The Role of Increased Earth Temperature in Hurricane Formation
The primary factor that triggers formation of hurricanes is the heating up of the earth. This point is supported by several scientists including Jay Barnes. Of course there are other factors involved but since heat plays a major role, its logical to conclude that global warming will cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of storm (especially hurricane) activity due to the availability of more heat to drive the storms. The strength of storms and ocean temperatures are directly related according to Professor Kerry Emanuel. Thus storms become more intense when temperature rises and less severe when temperature drops.
Warning Signs of Global Warming and Storms
The severity of recent storms should serve as warnings of the consequences of global warming. The storms that have been experienced of late in the US have broken the previous records. Hurricane Katrina of August 2005 has been recorded as the costliest, and one of the most fatal in the history of the US. The number of storms reaching category 4 and 5 has also increased together with global warming.
As time goes on, it is obvious that there is a real need for decisive action against global warming. While preventative measures may not bear fruit in this generation, or for several to come, efforts made now can do much to ensure the survival of the planet.