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NASA Warns Climate Change Could Cause Increase In 'Extreme Storms'

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The researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, warn that rising ocean temperatures may increase frequency of storms, causing flooding and structural damage.

The study findings published in journal Geophysical Research Letters gleaned through 15 years of data from Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument to conclude that an increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in sea temperatures cause 21 percent more storms.

Relationship Between Carbon Dioxide And Tropical Sea Temperatures

"It is somewhat common sense that severe storms will increase in a warmer environment. Thunderstorms typically occur in the warmest season of the year," lead researcher Hartmut Aumann explained.

He further adds that their data offers a measurable estimate of how much these storms are likely to increase, especially with regard to the tropical oceans and their rising temperatures.

The current climate change models forecast that with a constant rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 1 percent each year, the tropical ocean surface temperature may also increase up to 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit simultaneously. The researchers believe that allowing this trend to continue can cause substantial growth in the frequency of extreme storms.

The Consequences

Aumann explains that even though the climate change models are not flawless, their study quantifies the results and adds a visual reference to the consequences of ocean warming prediction.

The NASA study also notes that an increase in a storm would mean more structural damage, more flooding, more damage to food crops, and etc. Therefore, it is necessary to implement corrective measures to mitigate the loss of life and property due to extreme storms.

A 2014 report by the World Health Organization predicted that climate change will lead to a rise in issues such as malnutrition, malaria, and heat stress, increasing deaths by 250,000 per year between 2030 and 2050.

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