Hanscom Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Meeting

Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 2:00 PM Refreshments, 2:15 - 3:15 PM Talk

Hanscom Conference Center, Hanscom AFB, MA


Is Global Warming Affecting Hurricanes?

Prof. Kerry Emanuel, MIT, Cambridge, MA

Analysis of historical records of hurricane activity reveals large variability from one decade to the next. How much of this variability is random, how much can be said to be part of natural, regional or global climate fluctuations (such as El Nino), and how much is tied to man-made global climate change? These are important questions, as their answers bear on the pressing question of how hurricane activity might change over the next century. I will review the evidence that hurricane activity is closely linked to sea surface temperature and then examine the various environmental processes that cause sea surface temperature to change, focusing on the role of human-induced climate change.

Prof. Emanuel is a professor of Atmospheric Science in the Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prof. Emanuel received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1978 and his research group is investigating possible links between global climate and tropical cyclone activity, focusing on the possible role of tropical cyclones in driving oceanic heat fluxes. Other research activities include research on tropical cyclone genesis, environmental control of tropical cyclone intensity, the role of cumulus convection in regulating atmospheric water vapor and clouds, and the development of new techniques for assimilating nonlinear coherent structures into numerical models.

His research groupís home page is available at: http://wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/home.html.

For access to Hanscom, please contact Anthony Midey at 781-377-3556.