Climate change may cause threefold increase in powerful storms in some regions: study

London: By the end of the 21st century, climate change could lead to a threefold increased in powerful storms that cause extreme weather conditions such as flooding across Europe and North America, according to a study released on Tuesday by the University of Exeter.

The study, led by a researcher from the University, predicts that there will be a stark increase in the frequency of extratropical cyclones across large swathes of the Northern Hemisphere unless greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced, Xinhua news agency reported.

The impact on local communities could be severe, with more intense and extreme storms leading to greater large-scale flooding events, according to the study.

“It is expected that precipitation extremes will increase in intensity and frequency in a warmer climate,” said Dr Matt Hawcroft from the University of Exeter, who led the study.

Extratropical cyclones, which are steered by the jet stream, play a key role in day-to-day weather variability across large parts of North America and Europe. They are characterised by areas of low atmospheric pressure in the storm’s centre, with air drawn cyclonically (anti-clockwise) around the low pressure.

“In this work, we have attributed those changes to the events which bring much of our large-scale rainfall and flooding. This additional information, on the dynamical nature of changes, is important since it provides clear information on the nature and impact of the changes in precipitation that can be used, for example, in policy-making and adaptation planning,” said Dr Hawcroft.

The study has been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.