Extreme ‘Grey Swan’ Hurricanes in Tampa Bay: a Potential Future Catastrophe

A “black swan” hurricane—a storm so extreme and wholly unprecedented that no one could have expected it—hit the Lesser Antilles Islands in October 1780. Deservedly called The Great Hurricane of 1780, no Atlantic hurricane in history has matched its death toll of 22,000. So intense were the winds of the Great Hurricane that it peeled the bark off of trees–something only EF5 tornadoes with winds in excess of 200 mph have been known to do. However, hurricanes even more extreme than the Great Hurricane of 1780 can occur in a warming climate, and can be anticipated by combining physical knowledge with historical data. Such storms, which have never occurred in the historical record, can be referred to as “grey swan” hurricanes, according to research published in Nature Climate Change in 2015 by Kerry Emanuel of MIT and Ning Lin of Princeton University (press release here.) Using a detailed hurricane model embedded within six different global climate models, the scientists showed that the risk of extreme “grey swan” hurricanes for three specific locations–Tampa, Florida; Cairns, Australia; and the Persian Gulf–may increase by up to a factor of fourteen by the end of the century, thanks to our changing climate. We’ll focus in this post on the results for Tampa. grey swan

Read more: https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/extreme-grey-swan-hurricanes-in-tampa-bay-a-potential-future-catast

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