A new study coauthored by an MIT faculty member shows that powerful tropical storms are peaking in intensity further away from the equator. The migration of these cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons is significant in part because residents and infrastructure where the storms now make landfall may be unprepared for them and thus in more danger. As well, the authors write, these cyclones “have an important role in maintaining regional water resources, and a poleward migration of storm tracks could threaten potable water supplies in some regions while increasing flooding events in others.”
While the paper makes a link between the storms’ shift and global warming, coauthor Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science in the department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, says that researchers are continuing to examine this. Tropical winds have also expanded towards the poles in recent years. And, Emanuel told the MIT News, “as that belt migrates poleward, which surely it must as the whole ocean warms, the tropical cyclone genesis regions might just move with it. But we have more work to do to nail it down.”
Explore Professor Emanuel’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.
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