Climate change may double risk of tropical cyclones within next 30 years, study finds

Photo (c) guenterguni - Getty Images

Experts believe extreme weather events will become more common

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Southampton explored some of the weather-related risks associated with climate change. According to the findings, intense tropical cyclones are expected to occur twice as often by the year 2050. 

“Of particular concern is that the results of our study highlight that some regions that don’t currently experience tropical cyclones are likely to in the near future with climate change,” said researcher Dr. Ivan Haigh. “The new tropical cyclone dataset we have produced will greatly aid the mapping of changing flood risk in tropical cyclone regions.” 

Long-term weather risks

To better understand how climate change can impact long-term weather patterns, the researchers analyzed global climate models and historical data on tropical cyclones. They then used a statistical model to estimate what tropical cyclones will look like over the next few decades as climate change continues to intensify. 

Their work showed that category three tropical cyclones, which are the most intense, are likely to become twice as frequent in many parts of the world as a result of climate change. The Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Mexico proved to be the exception to these findings; these areas aren’t expected to experience intense cyclones as frequently. 

The researchers explained that there are currently only about 100 tropical cyclones that occur each year; however, most of them never touch down on land. These findings predict that these weather events are likely to become much more serious within the next 30 years. 

The study also showed that low-income countries are likely to experience the brunt of this extreme weather in the coming decades. Those that have the highest risk include Mozambique, Cambodia, the Solomon Islands, Laos, and Tonga. Similarly, the number of consumers in Asia who will be newly exposed to these extreme weather events is likely to increase by millions. 

With these findings, the goal now is to help local areas take necessary steps to protect the land and consumers from harm in the event of intense weather patterns. 

“Our results can help identify the locations prone to the largest increase in tropical cyclone risk,” said researcher Dr. Nadia Bloemendaal. “Local governments can then take measures to reduce risk in their region, so that damage and fatalities can be reduced. With our publicly available data, we can now analyze tropical cyclone risk more accurately for every individual coastal city or region.” 

Take a Home Warranty Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.