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Researchers Find Ocean Temperature Threshold for Hurricanes is Rising

Average observed tropical (black) and estimated SST (blue) rose together in the last 30 years. Image credit: University of Hawaii at Mānoa

Scientists have long known that atmospheric convection in the form of hurricanes and tropical ocean thunderstorms tends to occur when sea surface temperature rises above a threshold. So how do rising ocean temperatures with global warming affect this threshold?  If the threshold does not rise, it could mean more frequent hurricanes.


A new study by researchers at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa shows this threshold sea surface temperature for convection is rising under global warming at the same rate as that of the tropical oceans. Their paper appears in the Advance Online Publications of Nature Geoscience. (more…)

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