Academic journal article Science and Children

The Positive Effects of Hurricanes

Academic journal article Science and Children

The Positive Effects of Hurricanes

Article excerpt

New research suggests that hurricanes have a major upside: counteracting global warming.

Previous research demonstrated that the regular landfall of tropical cyclones is vital to the region's water supply and can help mitigate droughts. Now, a new study reveals that the increase in forest photosynthesis and growth, made possible by tropical cyclones in the southeastern United States, captures hundreds of times more carbon than is released by all vehicles in the United States in a given year.

"Our results show that, while hurricanes can cause flooding and destroy city infrastructure, there are two sides to the story," says Ana Barros, an author of the study. "The other side is that hurricanes recharge the aquifers and have an enormous impact on photosynthesis and taking up carbon from the atmosphere."

The study simulated the ecological impacts of tropical cyclones from 2004-2007. The earlier years of that time period had a high number of tropical cyclone landfall events, while the latter years experienced relatively few.

By comparing those disparate years to simulations of a year without tropical cyclone events, an author of the study, Lauren Lowman, calculated the effect tropical cyclones have on the rates of photosynthesis and carbon uptake in forests of the southeastern United States. …

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