A new paper has been published in GRL by Wang, C., and S. Lee, entitled: ‘Global warming and United States landfalling hurricanes.’
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has an article about the new study here:
Scientists: Warm seas may mean fewer hurricanes
Excerpt: Following in the footsteps of an earlier study, government scientists on Tuesday said warmer oceans should translate to fewer Atlantic hurricanes striking the United States.
The reason: As sea surface temperatures warm globally, sustained vertical wind shear increases. Wind shear makes it difficult for storms to form and grow.
“Using data extending back to the middle 19th century, we found a gentle decrease in the trend of U.S. landfalling hurricanes when the global ocean is warmed up,” Chunzai Wang, a physical oceanographer and climate scientist with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, said in a prepared statement.
The Abstract of the paper states:
A secular warming of sea surface temperature occurs almost everywhere over the global ocean. Here we use observational data to show that global warming of the sea surface is associated with a secular increase of tropospheric vertical wind shear in the main development region (MDR) for Atlantic hurricanes. The increased wind shear coincides with a weak but robust downward trend in U.S. landfalling hurricanes, a reliable measure of hurricanes over the long term. Warmings over the tropical oceans compete with one another, with the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans increasing wind shear and the tropical North Atlantic decreasing wind shear. Warmings in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans win the competition and produce increased wind shear which reduces U.S. landfalling hurricanes. Whether future global warming increases the vertical wind shear in the MDR for Atlantic hurricanes will depend on the relative role induced by secular warmings over the tropical oceans.
Received 18 October 2007; accepted 13 December 2007; published 23 January 2008.
Keywords: global warming; Atlantic hurricanes; climate variability.