Hurricane breeding grounds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are being warmed by greenhouse gases, raising fears that more intense and devastating storms will be unleashed on nearby coastlines, scientists warned yesterday.
Climate researchers found that emissions from burning fossil fuels and other industrial activities were to blame for driving temperatures upwards in tropical waters where hurricanes form.
They predict warmer ocean waters will energise hurricanes and make them more powerful. If sea temperatures continue to rise, scientists fear that category four and five hurricanes, such as Katrina, which battered New Orleans last summer, will become more commonplace.
Nathan Gillett, a co-author of the study at the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia, said: "We know the oceans have been warming in these regions and some scientists have said it was because of natural events. But this study confirms that it cannot be explained by a natural cycle."
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