The Effect of Climate Change Course Work Examples

Published: 2021-06-22 00:45:30
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The problem of climate change and its effects to living organisms such as humans has already been proven by many studies and now many are questioning if Natural Hazards such as Hurricanes can be affected by this change. Hurricanes are known in many names in regions, given their formation type and their composition. It also is a common calamity in the Northern Atlantic and in the Pacific, the latter naming hurricanes as tropical cyclones. The debate upon the effects of climate change in hurricanes is still contested by scientists. On the one hand, some scientists have seen the evidences that climate change will develop more intense and lethal hurricanes, causing more destruction as compared to the present version. On the other hand, other scientists note that it is yet impossible to identify the accurate effects of climate change in hurricanes as each hurricane possesses unique traits different from one another. Both arguments are still present, however, one cannot deny that the possibilities of these effects may come into a reality in the next coming years.

I. Introduction

The problem about climate change not only affects humans and other living organisms, but it also affects current natural hazards that occur each month or in seasons. One of these natural hazards is hurricanes. Ackerman and Knox (2011) classified hurricanes as hazards created through large-scale oscillations in the ocean. Normally, hurricanes are formed in certain regions in the ocean around summer and fall each year. When a hurricane is viewed from space, they appear as swirls of white clouds. Hurricanes are known in many names, depending on where they have taken shape and the nature of clouds forming the swirls. Hurricanes are commonly known as tropical cyclones or typhoons in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Regardless, these hurricanes are some of the most destructive natural hazards on earth. Some examples of the worst hurricanes that have struck the North and Central Americas is the Galveston, Texas hurricane in 1900 which killed 8000 people, Hurricane Andrew in Florida and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, killing 1300 people in the Gulf Coast.

II. How are Hurricanes Detected

Hart (2006) noted that hurricanes or cyclones are formed within 25 degrees of the Equator, but it can also form 40 degrees from the Equator, far north of New York City or south of Melbourne. Hurricanes usually require a little circulation or a low-pressure area of 500-1000 km in diameter and within 5000 feet to take form. In the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, a cyclone evolves into a hurricane if it has a sustained wind speed of 74 mph. Predictions are usually done in a numerical model, but this is not as accurate compared to the current technologies to predict these hurricanes. Satellite technology is generally used to indicate the formation of hurricanes and an expert forecaster may be able to interpret satellite data. To indicate the magnitude of these hurricanes, the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale ranks are used. This ranking has five categories, based on the sustained wind speed of the hurricane. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes make landfall regularly, but Categories 3 to 5 are less frequent. In current records, only a few hurricanes of Category 5 type have managed to make landfall. These hurricanes are the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille in 1969 and eventually Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

III. The Effects of Climate Change in Hurricanes

Many researchers have noted and concluded in their studies that global warming and climate change would increase the strength and size of hurricanes over the years. Since surface temperatures of most bodies of water increase, these hurricanes would easily be able to take into shape. According to the US Congressional Budget Office (2009), some economic assessments indicate that stronger hurricanes formed less than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit would increase the annual U.S hurricane damages up to $8 billion. IPCC or the International Panel on Climate Change, as noted by Ward, the Environmental Law Institute and the US Department of Energy (2003), sees a danger that severe weather conditions such as hurricanes would be affected by climate change. In one statement, they noted that "the intensification of the hydrological pattern with increased CO2 is a robust conclusion". Their studies also show that the Pacific's El Nino-like weather base would increase precipitation in the Pacific, causing more intense tropical hurricanes/cyclones to hit the region. This will create massive floods in some areas and landslide areas.

Piguet, Pecoud, and de Guchteneire (2011) noted that there are some evidences in the North Atlantic that intense hurricane activity is present. In comparison with other countries, the trend is not similar to any other region. Climate change-induced hurricanes may cause massive damages in coastal areas since hurricane activity is most likely to increase over the years. Aside from the natural destruction that comes along with hurricanes, there is a possibility that communities are going to be displaced temporarily since infrastructure will also be affected. Depending on the exposure of the structure to the hurricane, remedies and protective measures can be invoked to protect vulnerable areas should another hurricane develop. Damages caused by hurricanes may be greater come the time the sea level continues to increase and should it develop upon the time of high tide; an even more serious crisis may be at hand.

On the other hand, some studies argued that global warming is not responsible for the disaster that was known as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Leatherman and Williams (2008) explained that many people have noted that the weather patterns have been erratic due to the global warming problem. Before Hurricane Katrina, many were accepting the hypothesis that the unusual intensity and frequency was caused by global warming. In the United States, no hurricanes struck in 2006 as only nine tropical storms have formed. Scientists explain this erratic weather patterns as an effect of El Nino since one of the effects of this phenomenon is an increased upper atmospheric winds from the west. These winds also affected the trajectory of hurricanes and weakened them.

This analysis is also supported by organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization as noted by Terry (2007). According to the report done by the WMO, they cited it is impossible to attribute a single hurricane to climate change. There is also an issue on the variability and uniqueness of each hurricane formed in regions. It is more likely that some hurricanes would increase in wind-speed once the climate continues to warm. However, due to the inconsistent changes, it is still unlikely that a possibility of a stronger hurricane development would be feasible in the future. Some works published with regards to hurricanes in South Pacific regions are more plausible to happen as compared to the Atlantic publications. In a nutshell, the greenhouse-enhanced world would transform hurricane activity in the area. It has been noted that there will be changes in hurricane patterns in the east as compared to its present patterns. Hurricanes will intensify and garner maximum wind speeds that may prolong its lifespan. There is also a possibility of a longer hurricane track pointing to the south before it truly dissipates.

IV. Conclusion

Despite the arguments on whether or not hurricanes or cyclones are affected by climate change, the possibilities of experiencing a more severe and life-threatening natural hazard cannot easily be taken out of the picture. The arguments of those who noted that climate change will most likely intensify, and prolong the life of these hurricanes can easily be justified considering how these natural hazards are formed. However, the assumption that there are other factors that may influence hurricane seasons is still likely as an effect of climate change. Each natural hazard also has its own unique structure and way it was developed so it cannot be easily pointed out as an effect of climate change. Nevertheless, the destruction of these natural hazards are still life-threatening and must be prepared upon by everyone.


Ackerman, S. and Knox, J., 2011. Meteorology. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning, pp. 247-252.
Hart, R., 2006. Hurricanes: A Primer on Formation, Structure, Intensity Change and Frequency.
George C. Marshall Institute, pp. 1-11.
Leatherman, S. and Williams, J., 2008. Hurricanes: Causes, Effects and the Future.
Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company, pp. 67-68.
Piguet, P., Pecoud, A., and de Guchteneire, P., 2011. Migration and Climate Change.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 44.
Terry, J., 2007. Tropical cyclones: climatology and impacts in the South Pacific. New York:
Springer Science, pp. 84-86.
US Congressional Budget Office, 2009. Potential Impacts of Climate Change in the US.
Washington D.C: US Congress, p. 10.
Ward, B., Environmental Law Institute, & the United States Department of Energy., 2003.
Reporting on climate change: Understanding the science. Washington, D.C: Environmental Law Institute, p. 31.

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