If we are interested in understanding something about the sensitivity of island environments to the impacts of tropical cyclones, which is the focus of the following chapters of this book, then we must at some point tackle the thorny issue of what, if any, will be the effects of climate change on the future characteristics and behaviour of tropical cyclones. As might be imagined, in all of the world’s major ocean basins, with the South Pacific no exception, questions abound concerning the nature of the tropical-cyclone regime in a projected warmer world. The surfaces of most tropical oceans have warmed up by 0.25–0.5°C during the past few decades (Santer et al. 2006) and it is widely believed that the increase in greenhouse gas concentration is the primary cause of the observed rise in global mean sea-surface temperature over the past 50 years (IPCC 2001). In cyclone research, scientists have to date largely concentrated their attention on assessing the likelihood of any climate change and associated ocean warming effects on tropical cyclone numbers and frequencies, storm intensities, and the locations of storm origins. Tropical cyclone durations and precipitation have also featured as topics for research, albeit not so prominently.
KeywordsTropical Cyclone Storm Surge Tropical Cyclone Activity Storm Intensity Tropical Cyclone Intensity
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