Tropical cyclones in Asia could be two to three times more destructive by the end of the century than today, according to a new study.
The findings, published in Nature Communications, was made possible by improved forecasting models.
In a research paper, experts suggested three factors might drive the change: land encroachment, global climate change and sea level rise.
Cyclones are frequent in the region, but they pose a great danger because of damage they do to infrastructure and the environment, adding to the woes of the region’s poor.
Typhoons are even more destructive. In Taiwan, they cause an estimated US$13 billion worth of damage each year.
The International Climate Science Coalition estimated in 2017 that about $9.5 billion was lost due to typhoons in the year before.
Previous research has suggested cyclones could be even more destructive because of warming oceans, predicted to increase by between 0.5C and 4C over the next several decades.
Scientists this week also projected a 1C increase in global warming could cause 124 new widespread, moderate and devastating storms to form by 2090, compared to today.
The latest work suggests they may actually be worth recording — the 2015 MERS outbreak in Southeast Asia still tops weather records because the storm’s deadly swiftness began in less than 48 hours.
And during major natural disasters, groups of ships could bring together global changes in climate. Such warming seas could impact the supply of nutrients that fish need to survive, the study found.
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Such drastic changes might force the region’s already impoverished inhabitants to migrate, according to the study’s authors.
“Human transformation of coastal regions should be anticipated in the context of future climate change,” the researchers concluded.