Claim: aerosols prevented hurricanes from getting stronger, but will intensify now

Watts Up With That?


Tropical cyclones on track to grow more intense as temperatures rise
Aerosols have compensated for greenhouse gases, but won’t in future

Powerful tropical cyclones like the super typhoon that lashed Taiwan with 150-mile-per-hour winds last week and then flooded parts of China are expected to become even stronger as the planet warms. That trend hasn’t become evident yet, but it will, scientists say.

super-typhoon-nepartak NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nepartak approaching Taiwan on July 7. CREDIT NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response/Jeff Schmaltz

So far, the warming effects of greenhouse gases on tropical cyclones have been masked, in part by air pollution.

Over the past century, tiny airborne particles called aerosols, which cool the climate by absorbing and reflecting sunlight, largely cancelled out the effects of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions when it came to tropical storm intensity, according to a new…

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