Tropical cyclones have become more intense around the globe in the past four decades, with more destructive storms forming more often, according to a study that further confirms the theory that warming oceans would drive more dangerous cyclones. Analysis of satellite records from 1979 to 2017 found a clear rise in the most destructive cyclones – also known as hurricanes or typhoons – that deliver sustained winds in excess of about 185km/h. Experts told Guardian Australia the finding was in line with climate model predictions and the knowledge that increasing ocean temperatures gave tropical storms more energy.
Dr Hamish Ramsay, a senior research scientist at CSIRO who studies cyclones, said: “This study confirms what the climate models have been pAmphanredicting for some time – that the proportion of the most intense storms will increase as the climate warms.” Ramsay said as well as increasing the wind speeds in cyclones, warming oceans would also likely see cyclones delivering more rainfall. There was still uncertainty as to whether the numbers of all categories of cyclones would rise or fall under climate change.