Stormy Weather

Hawaii could soon become a slightly less hospitable vacation spot. According to a new study, climate change will make tropical cyclones in the area more frequent by the end of the century.

So far, Hawaii has managed to dodge most damaging storms. From 1979 to 2010, “only eight named storms have impacted the Hawaiian Islands,” the authors write in Nature Climate Change. But shifts in climate conditions to the east, where most Hawaii-bound cyclones begin, could make such events more common.

The researchers ran simulations to predict the effects of climate change on tropical storms from 2075 to 2099. They found that fewer tropical cyclones would form near Mexico, but more of those storms would reach the Hawaiian Islands. As a result, the tropical cyclone frequency around Hawaii would increase.

That doesn’t mean Hawaii will become the next Florida; overall, the number of strong storms will remain low. Nevertheless, the authors warn that “[t]hese results highlight possible future increases in storm-related socio-economic and ecosystem damage for the Hawaiian Islands.” Roberta Kwok | 7 May 2013

Source: Murakami, H., et al. 2013. Projected increase in tropical cyclones near Hawaii. Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/nclimate1890.

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