Giving Compass' Take:

• Scientists are pushing for next-generation climate models that can include ocean and atmosphere response to hurricanes to understand storm behavior and future consequences on specific locations.  

• How can improved climate models of hurricanes impact disaster preparedness strategies as well as donor response?

Learn more about environmental issues and how to make an impact. 

The link between climate change and tropical hurricanes is a slippery one. While scientists broadly understand the natural mechanics that drive these cyclonic storms, accurately predicting what may happen on a warming planet is far harder.

Some climate models reveal a future where there may be fewer hurricanes and typhoons, but those that do occur could be more powerful. Other research suggests the frequency will not change while there are studies that indicate tropical cyclones will become more common and more intense.

The climate models we are developing have a much higher resolution than the ones we are currently using. This next generation of models should have the sort of resolution where we can simulate the structure of the storms at a more realistic size and intensity.

For nations in the path of destructive hurricanes, this uncertainty presents serious dilemmas for how to best prepare for the future. Should they invest billions in storm-proof infrastructure to protect their citizens, or abandon the most vulnerable communities to fate? Will more damage be caused by flooding or high-speed winds?

One major EU-funded project could help to provide answers. The PRIMAVERA project is producing a new generation of high-resolution climate models that will examine how the oceans and atmosphere will respond over the next 30 years.

Read the full article on hurricanes and climate change at The Naked Scientists.