Bad news for those that live in more temperate regions, away from the tropics. Tropical storms have been migrating their peak intensity away from the equator to the tune of 35 miles every decade. It doesn’t sound like a big jump, but more temperate areas, less prepared for tropical storms, are now under the gun.

A study by NOAA shows that over the past three decades, storms are impacting regions well away from the latitude in which they formed. In an article announcing their findings, NOAA laid out the prospects of storms reaching further north and south. “The poleward trends are evident in the global historical data in both the Northern and the Southern hemispheres, with rates of [33 and 39 miles] per decade, respectively, and are statistically significant. When considered together, the trends in each hemisphere depict a global-average migration of tropical cyclone activity away from the tropics at a rate of about one degree of latitude per decade.”

The overall migration trend has been more pronounced in the Pacific than the Atlantic. Lead researcher, Jim Kossin, thinks several factors play into this. Ocean currents that affect the storms strength, as well as the reduced impact of aerosol emissions in the region.

“We’ve identified changes in the environment in which the deep tropics have become more hostile to the formation and intensification of tropical cyclones and the higher latitudes have become less hostile,” Kossin said in a statement. “‘This seems to be driving the poleward migration’ of storm intensity.”

In what is sure to cause a bit of controversy on the cable news outlets, researchers are placing partial blame on climate change. The prevailing theory is that increasing temperatures may be expanding the tropical zones. Outside of climate change, they point to the increase of airborne particulates and the depletion of the stratospheric ozone. Both issues are due to man-made actions.

The full article can be found in the journal, Nature. Climate change deniers have had a rough go of it recently. The White House report, the former defense officials report and now the migrating tropical storm study. One wonders exactly how much more science is needed before the problem is addressed?


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