A new study on the likely effect of climate change on tropical cyclones, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States, predicts slightly fewer but much more destructive cyclones.

John McBride, principal research scientist for the Bureau of Meteorology says one of the most consistent findings is that the southern hemisphere is likely to see a drop in the number of cyclones each year. Australia is likely to  see nine cyclones every year instead of the current ten, which will not be very noticeable.

However, the intensify of the cyclones will increase by about 10 percent. In other words, there will be a 10 percent increase in the maximum wind speed. This will make a significant difference because the destructive power of a cyclone is exponentially proportional to its wind speed.

Darwin after Cyclone Tracy (Image: Billbee via Wikimedia)

Darwin after Cyclone Tracy
(Image: Billbee via Wikimedia)