The latest research to correlate the increased severity of storm surge activity with climate change comes from Aslak Grinsted who works at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. In his paper, which has just been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Grinsted proposes a new combined model to prognosticate hurricane surge threats — one that compares the record of hurricane activity in the Atlantic based on storm surge statistics (extracted from tide gauges) to changes in global temperature patterns.
- If the average global temperature increases by 0.4 degrees Celsius, we can expect to see a doubling in the frequency of storm surges like the one following Katrina
- Should temperatures increase by one degree, these events will occur with three to four times the frequency
- A two degree increase in global temperature will result in about 10 times as many extreme storm surges
If Grinsted’s two degree prediction comes to pass, we can expect a Katrina-like hurricane once every two years. Worse, with rising sea levels, the destructiveness of the surges could be greatly exacerbated.