Global warming could increase the chances of powerful hurricanes, according to a new study.
Research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen shows that extreme hurricanes like Katrina are twice as likely to occur in warm years than in cold years.
"So when the global climate becomes 3 degrees warmer in the future, as predictions show, what happens then?" climate scientist Aslak Grinsted said in a press statement announcing the study results.
Grinsted consulted records of tide levels and historical accounts of tropical storms dating back to 1923 to calculate the number of cyclones that made landfall in the last 90 years. He then worked with researchers in China and England to look at global temperatures over the period.
"We simply counted how many extreme cyclones with storm surges there were in warm years compared to cold years and we could see that there was a tendency for more cyclones in warmer years," Grinsted said.
The global temperature has increased 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1923, according to the study. Strong hurricanes like Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, make landfall every 10 to 30 years on average.