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Climate Change May Offer Hurricane Help

By Willie Drye for National Geographic
9/5/2013 10:15:45 AM

The following is an excerpt from National Geographic.

"Many scientists have blamed global warming for more intense recent hurricane seasons and for the more destructive storms that are predicted in years to come, but a new study says climate change could eventually help safeguard the U.S. Atlantic Coast from hurricanes.

Climate change might alter atmospheric conditions so that future hurricanes may be pushed away from the East Coast, according to a study published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

A NASA computer model of Hurricane Sandy. A new study says climate change could make such storms less likely along the Atlantic Coast. Photograph by NASA/ National Geographic Stock

The warming caused by greenhouse gases-thought to be the result of human activities such as burning fossil fuels-could redirect atmospheric winds that steer hurricanes.

By the next century, the study's authors report, atmospheric winds over the Atlantic could blow more directly from west to east during hurricane season, pushing storms away from the United States.

The study was conducted by meteorologists Elizabeth Barnes at Colorado State University; Lorenzo M. Polvani of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York; and Adam H. Sobelband at Columbia University.

The authors used computer simulations to arrive at their theory about climate change and influences on hurricanes' tracks."

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