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Climate Change and Its Impact on Tropical Cyclone Intensity: An In-depth Examination

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Zara Nwosu
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Climate Change and Its Impact on Tropical Cyclone Intensity: An In-depth Examination

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Understanding Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones

The study of climate change and its impact on tropical cyclone intensity is a key area of scientific enquiry. Recent research has highlighted the correlation between increasing ocean temperatures and the intensity of tropical cyclones. The use of satellite-derived wind speeds has allowed for an in-depth analysis of these trends. The findings have revealed that the lifetime-maximum wind speeds of the strongest tropical cyclones are showing significant increasing trends globally. This suggests that the strongest cyclones are becoming increasingly stronger, a trend that holds different implications across various regions due to the rate of warming in different ocean basins.

The Impact of Climate Change on Oceans

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The effects of climate change on oceans are multifaceted and profound. These include increased ocean temperatures, more frequent marine heatwaves, a rise in sea levels, and changes to ocean currents. The ocean absorbs approximately 25% of human-caused CO2 emissions, contributing to ocean warming and a decrease in nutrients for marine life. Rising water temperatures have damaging effects on various oceanic ecosystems, such as coral reefs. The global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970, and marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency since 1982. This increase in ocean heat content is directly linked to rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Unprecedented Weather Events and Climate Change

The year 2023 witnessed unprecedented weather events, including extreme heatwaves, wildfires, tropical cyclones, and droughts. The World Economic Forum's 2024 Global Risks Report highlighted environmental risks, with human-induced greenhouse gas emissions being the primary cause of these extreme weather events. Organizations like CMCC are making efforts to improve the detection and forecasting of extreme weather events using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques.

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The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Weather Forecasting

Artificial intelligence is increasingly being adopted for tropical cyclone warning and forecasting systems. Traditional statistical models for cyclone prediction have their limitations, and modern technologies like AI and machine learning offer more accurate and efficient alternatives. The use of these advanced technologies is particularly evident in countries like Bangladesh, where they are gradually being incorporated into disaster management tactics. The implementation of AI has the potential to significantly improve cyclone warning systems and ultimately save lives.

Intensification of Monsoon Troughs and Tropical Cyclone Genesis

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Further studies have investigated the intensification of the South China Sea Western North Pacific monsoon trough (MT) and its relationship with tropical cyclone genesis. The analyses reveal that since the mid-2000s, there has been a pronounced intensification of the MT and an increase in tropical cyclone genesis over the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea. Anomalous sea surface temperature (SST) warming over the Philippine Sea has resulted in a beneficial background for TC genesis, leading to a more active synoptic scale wave and an interdecadal increase in TC genesis over the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea.

Conclusion

Understanding the relationship between climate change and tropical cyclone activity is crucial to predict and manage the impacts of future weather events. The rise in ocean temperatures, coupled with human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, is directly influencing the intensity of cyclones. With the advent of AI and machine learning, there are opportunities to improve the detection and forecasting of these extreme weather events, ultimately saving lives and resources. However, the global community must also focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

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