NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 2 (UPI) -- Harvard University scientists say they've discovered a possible link between the development of tropical cyclones and global warming.
David Romps and Zhiming Kuang of Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences said cyclones could be a significant source of the deep convection that carries moist air upward to the stratosphere, where it can influence climate.
After analyzing 23 years of infrared satellite imagery, global tropical cyclone track data and other data, the researchers discovered that while tropical cyclones account for only 7 percent of the deep convection in the tropics, such storms contribute 15 percent of the convection that reaches the stratosphere.
Romps and Kuang said they conclude tropical cyclones could play a key role in adding water vapor to the stratosphere, which has been shown to increase surface temperatures. Because global warming is expected to lead to changes in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, the researchers said their results suggest the possibility of a feedback mechanism between tropical cyclones and global climate.
The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.