Does Global Warming Affect Tropical Storms?

by Jennifer Moore

Each year, several tropical storms form over the Pacific ocean. A tropical storm is basically a super bad thunderstorm over the ocean. While most tend to be harmless to humanity, some can swell into much larger hurricanes and devastate cities on the coasts. But recently scientists have begun to wonder if tropical storms are linked to global warming. Could it be that the factors explained in this post by David Torrejon are heating up the planet and inevitably causing these types of storms to worsen?
 
Now, how could this be? Well, a tropical storm forms in spiral-like pattern. Warm, moist air gets sucked up and pushes cooler air down towards the water. In turn, the cooler air chases the warm air back up and pushes it down to the water again. This game of cat and mouse continues on and on until you have a tropical storm. A major factor of this cycle is the warmer air resting atop the ocean’s surface. Recently however, the average temperature of the planet itself has slowly been rising over the last couple of decades. This rise in temperature is well known as Global Warming. Some scientists think that because of this rise in temperature, tropical storms and possible hurricanes will be more and more frequent.

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This is a graph of the average global temperature versus the amount of tropical storms in the central pacific region. The Y-axis on the left represents the average number of Tropical Storms in the central pacific related to the X-axis, which is the past 20 years.(Blue line)  The Y-axis on the right is the average global temperature in degrees Celcius over the past 20 years (Red Line) .

In the graph above, I combined Global temperature from climate.nasa.gov and Tropical Storm numbers from prh.noaa.gov to compare the relationship between temperature and total storms in the central pacific region. As you can see, average global temperature has risen sizeably over the past 20 years. Here’s the funny part, if you look closely, you’ll see that up until 2014, the number of tropical storms had been decreasing even though the average global temperature had been increasing. The interesting thing though, is that in 2015, the global temperature had spiked to 0.87 degrees Celsius, and there were 15 tropical storms in the central pacific that year.

Some scientists speculate that the spike in temperature is directly related to the spike in tropical storms. Since these storm form when hot air mixes with cool air, it seems reasonable to think that these could be related. I think that the rise in these storms does have to do with the rise in temperature, and that if the temperature continues to rise, these storms will become more and more violent. What do you think?

 

Sources:

 

http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/hurricanes/en/

http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/changes-hurricanes

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

 

Global Warming: The Importance of Going Green

by David Torrejon

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                                                                              credit: http://www.storypick.com/save-the-earth/

 

Global warming is an issue that poses an urgent threat to society. Global warming is the gradual increase in temperature on the Earth’s surface. The Earth has suffered irreversible damage at the hands of global warming. The Earth’s average temperature has increased 0.4 to 0.8 Celsius over the course of 50 years. A major cause of global warming is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and there are two main processes that contribute to increased carbon dioxide, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Deforestation is the process of cutting down trees in order to clear the land. Since trees use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, this helps create a good balance of gases in the atmosphere so if more forests are cut down, there will be fewer trees to complete this function. Burning fossil fuels impacts global warming because whenever people are burning fossil fuels, they are releasing carbon dioxide into the air. The carbon dioxide goes into the Earth’s atmosphere, which could potentially disturb the natural balance of carbon. The carbon dioxide trap the heat and cause the temperature to get hotter.

Fossil fuels are concentrated organic compound that was formed from the remains of plants and animals millions of years ago. The burning of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, originates from multiple sources. Most commonly, fossil fuels are used to fuel and provide our everyday transportation, to generate electricity to power house and to provide heat. This graph, which I made from public data from NASA on 2011 carbon dioxide emission, has countries on the X- axis and has carbon dioxide emission in millions of metric tons on the Y-axis. Based on this graph, it can revealed which nations are responsible for the high quality of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. China, which ranked number one according to carbon dioxide emission, released 8715.34 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The United States came in second place with 5490.63 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

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Figure 1: This graph provides information about the amount of carbon dioxide each country releases into the Earth’s atmosphere

The rapidly and drastic increasing of carbon dioxide will have a profound impact on the Earth. This graph, which I made from UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists) on Global Temperature, the year is the X-axis while the temperature anomaly is on the Y-axis. The temperature anomaly means a difference from an average. A positive anomaly indicates that the temperature was warmer than what it should be ,while a negative anomaly indicates that the temperature was cooler than it was supposed to be. The trend for the graph is that as the years have increased the temperature anomaly have increased positively.

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Figure 2: This graphs provides you the difference temperature relative to the average each year

You may ask yourself, why should I care? Well the truth is that economical, environmental and health consequences will only continue to develop if the trend continues. For example, there will be a rise in sea level since the ice is melting at a rapid pace. Global warming will only continue the internal migration of animals. Animals in the North and South Poles will move even further north and further south. Diseases tend to thrive in warm temperatures and have been limited to the subtropical and tropical areas. However, with rise of global temperature, diseases will soon be able to blossom anywhere. Plants and animals will die because of exposure to diseases. Although the damage to the Earth’s atmosphere is irreparable, the carbon emission must go down otherwise life on Earth will only get worse. Our society needs to stop taking this planet for granted. Our society needs to have our political leaders work together to preserve the Earth, after all there is only one planet suitable for human life.

Bibliography:
1.”Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/each-countrys-share-of-co2.html#.Vwg0FBMrKT8
2. “Vital Signs: Global Temperature.” Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/