Climate mitigating energy production

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Climate expert Joe Romm has pointed out, in order of their scientific certainty, how global warming makes storms more destructive:

  • sea level rise makes storm surges more destructive

  • higher sea surface temperatures (SSTs) increase atmospheric water vapor leading to more rainfall and flooding,

  • increased water vapor and higher ocean temperatures are likely to make storms more intense and bigger, and

  • warming extends the range of increased SSTs, which can help sustain the strength of a hurricane as it steers on a northerly track into cooler water.

Increased sea surface temperature is the common denominator.


Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest ocean storms ever recorded. It devastated large portions of the Philippines in November 2013 and killed at least 6,300 people. It set records for the strongest storm ever to strike land and for the highest sustained wind speed over one minute, hitting 315 kilometers per hour.



New analysis of what controls the peak intensity of typhoons, cyclones or hurricanes, depending on where you live, suggests these storms could get stronger and more frequent as a result of climate change.


A NASA and NOAA-funded study, led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, projects the intensity of typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean to increase as much as 14 percent – nearly equivalent to an increase of one category – by century’s end even under a moderate future scenario of greenhouse gas emissions. It says that by then surface ocean temperatures will be more than 1.6oC higher than the average between1955-2005 and it is this heat that drives the storms.


In the past, disaster experts have used analyzed storm surges and high rainfall separately to define flood zones and devise preparedness plans. A new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that this method underestimates the risk of storm surges and high rainfall occurring at the same time. The number of these so-called compound events has increased over the past 100 years the researchers found.


Energy production that moves the heat that drives these storms to a benign location mitigates the problems of storm surge.