Tropical cyclones intensifying faster and more frequently: INCOIS study

Global Warming Linked to Increased Cyclone Intensity and Unpredictability, Study Finds

A recent study conducted by scientists at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the Department of Meteorology and Oceanography at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam has revealed that global warming is causing a rise in cyclone intensity and multiple rapid intensifications. This phenomenon, where tropical cyclones experience a dramatic increase in intensity within a short period of time, poses significant challenges to cyclone forecasting.

The research team observed that tropical cyclones are intensifying more rapidly and frequently than before. They also noted changes in the lifecycles of these cyclones, with rapid intensification now occurring even during the mature stages of a cyclone. This finding suggests that the warming of the ocean is playing a role in these intensified cyclonic events.

The study found a significant surge in the frequency of multiple rapid intensifications across all ocean basins, with the western north Pacific Ocean basin accounting for nearly half of the total occurrences. In contrast, the north Indian Ocean basin had a comparatively lower rate of multiple rapid intensifications.

The increased number of multiple rapid intensification tropical cyclones in the past 20 years highlights the need for improvements in existing numerical models used for cyclone forecasting. The scientists hope to enhance their understanding of these events through the use of new observational strategies such as drones and the development of AI-based techniques to reduce uncertainties.

Examining the variations in intensification rates at different stages of cyclone evolution over time is crucial for accurately predicting when such events may occur. Furthermore, more studies are needed to establish a relationship between recent climate changes and the factors driving the rapid intensification of cyclones.

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To conduct their analysis, the research team utilized publicly available tropical cyclone data from multiple agencies, including the National Hurricane Center for the North Atlantic and eastern-north Pacific basins, and data from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center for the remaining ocean basins. This comprehensive dataset covered a span of 40 years, from 1981 to 2020, and allowed the scientists to analyze tropical cyclone intensity changes across all global ocean basins.

The findings of this study will contribute to the knowledge base for understanding the impacts of future climate change on the behavior of cyclones. They also underline the importance of better forecasting and preparedness to protect coastal communities and infrastructure. Dr. T. Srinivasa Kumar, the director of INCOIS, emphasizes that these findings are a crucial component in the development of Ocean Climate Change Advisories as part of the Deep Ocean Mission.

The study was recently published in Scientific Reports and serves as a reminder of the urgency to address the effects of global warming on cyclones. By improving forecasting capabilities and investing in strategies to mitigate the potential devastation caused by intense cyclones, we can work towards a safer and more resilient future for coastal regions around the world.

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