14 Green Advent 1: Clamour of the Oceans - Suren Abreu

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:07 AM ]
Pop Quiz:

How many cyclones have hit India this year alone? Do you know their names? How many cyclones (typhoons or hurricanes) have hit the world in the same year? Are cyclones increasing or decreasing in number? What about their intensity? (Answers at the end of this article)

Fact Section

There is no conclusive evidence to indicate that global warming is the cause of increased cyclone intensity. However, it is relatively easy to connect the dots.

Warmer ocean surfaces are the primary factor in initiating cyclone activity. The warm moist air rises, creating low pressure areas below; the surrounding cooler air rushes in; the cooler air gets warm and moist and rises; the risen air forms clouds which grow as more moist air rises; the incoming air swirls because of the earth's rotational direction (which is why northern hemisphere cyclones spin counter-clockwise and southern hemisphere ones clockwise); and voilà, a cyclone is born.

Studies show that weaker cyclone systems are dying out, while stronger cyclone systems are getting more intense. This is explained simply by the general increase in surface ocean and tropospheric temperatures – in weaker systems, the incoming air is not sufficiently different in temperature to allow it to develop fully; in stronger systems, the wind speed adds to the strength of the system. Cyclone scientists predict that the coming years will see fewer, but stronger, more destructive cyclones!