Kerry Emanuel is an American professor of meteorology currently working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, and in 2006 was named one of Time’s 100 Influential People of that year. Much of his fame has come from being among the first to link global warming to an apparent increase in hurricane intensity.
Just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, Emanuel published a paper in the journal Nature, which concluded that a key measurement of the power dissipated by a storm during its lifetime, had seen a dramatic increase since the mid-1970’s. In other words, hurricane’s had grown in intensity over that time.
He continued by arguing that in the future, hurricane’s that mirrored the intensity of Katrina and the like would become more commonplace, rather than the occasional fluke.
However, this past week Emanuel has now unveiled a new and novel technique for predicting future hurricane activity. His new work suggests that, even in a world where the temperature is rising, hurricane frequency and intensity may not rise to any significant degree in the next two centuries.
Appearing in the March issue of Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, his work is groundbreaking to say the least, but even more because of who he is. Emanuel has been a highly visible leader in his field, and a proponent of the link between global warming and stronger hurricanes. That his views have changed due to his own research is staggering, and could very well have a large influence over other scientists.
“The results surprised me,” Emanuel said of his work.
To maintain a semblance of normality (I assume), Emanuel noted that global warming may still play a role in increasing the intensity of hurricane’s, but just what the role is, he had no idea.
For an in depth look at what this is all about, head along to my blog where I’ve expanded on this.
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