Coastal Communities Not Safe From “Grey Swan” Storm Events

By on September 8, 2015
Researchers predict significant increases in tropical storms by the end of the century. (Credit: Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel)

Researchers predict significant increases in tropical storms by the end of the century. (Credit: Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel)

Computer model predictions are now suggesting that coastal communities previously believed to be safe from large “Grey Swan” storm events may now experience them due to climate change, researchers at Princeton University’s Engineering School warn in a recent university press release.

“Grey Swan” tropical cyclones are those that can be predicted with some accuracy, though the storms are still expected to be rare events, as opposed to “Black Swan” tropical cyclones which are also expected to be rare but unpredictable. Scientists from Princeton and MIT attempted to model the potential for “Grey Swan” hurricanes for three cities: Tampa, Florida, Cairns, Australia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

All three cities showed significantly increased likelihood for “Grey Swan” storm activity according to 7,000 hurricane simulations performed by the computer modeling teams. The odds of a “Grey Swan” hurricane are estimated to be about 1 in 10,000 given current climate conditions. But given a future of climate change, scientists believe these powerful storms may increase to 1 in 700, research results suggested.

Top image: Researchers predict significant increases in tropical storms by the end of the century. (Credit: Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel)

About Lori Balster

Growing up near a woods, Lori has always enjoyed the outdoors. Lori is a writer and consultant based in Dayton, Ohio. Lori has also worked at Wright-Patterson AFB as a research chemist.

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