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How ancient shipwrecks tell us that hurricanes will become more frequent and stronger


The sea temperature is changing which will have an effect on the occurrence and strength of hurricanes.

The study looked at Spanish boats which sank between 1495 and 1825 in the Caribbean Sea to gain a better understanding of the climate during that period.

In the midst of this was a climatological era that stemmed from 1645 to 1715 which was known as the “Maunder Minimum” – also dubbed the “Little Ice Age” – which was a period where the Earth and oceans were cooler as there was low sunspot activity.

As a result, hurricanes and tropical cyclones were less frequent in the 1600 and 1700s as the storms rely on energy from the sun which heats the waters, from which they can draw energy and become more powerful.

As there was a mini-ice age occurring, there was not as much energy to harbour, thus meaning that there were fewer tropical storms.

In 2015, the average sea temperature was almost one degrees celsius higher than the average throughout the 20th century.

This would suggest hurricanes and tropical storms are going to be come more frequent and powerful in the immediate future.

The experts were able to deduce how powerful and frequent hurricanes were from 1645 to 1715 by studying a total of 657 Spanish shipwrecks which sank between 1495 and 1825, according to the results of the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



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