Anche i cicloni tropicali sono responsabili del cambiamento climatico

di Marco Mancini 42

Gli scienziati di Harvard hanno scoperto che i cicloni tropicali iniettano molto facilmente del ghiaccio nella stratosfera. Questo potrebbe alimentare il riscaldamento globale. La scoperta, pubblicata sul Geophysical Research Letters, fornisce ulteriori elementi di prova del forte intreccio tra tempo e riscaldamento globale, dimostrando un meccanismo mediante il quale le tempeste potrebbero guidare il cambiamento climatico. Molti scienziati ritengono che il riscaldamento globale, a sua volta, aumenti la gravità dei cicloni tropicali.

Dal momento che il vapore acqueo è un importante gas a effetto serra, un suo aumento nella stratosfera potrebbe riscaldare la superficie della Terra. La nostra ricerca sospetta che i cicloni tropicali siano responsabili di molte delle nubi nella stratosfera, il che apre la possibilità che queste tempeste potrebbero influenzare il clima globale, in aggiunta alla possibilità di intensificare la frequenza e l’intensità dei cicloni tropicali dovuti ai cambiamenti climatici.

Queste le parole di David M. Romps, ricercatore del Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dei Pianeti di Harvard.

Romps e il co-autore Zhiming Kuang, assistente professore di Scienza del clima alla Facoltà di Arti e Scienze di Harvard, sono incuriositi dai precedenti dati che suggeriscono che la quantità di vapore acqueo nella stratosfera è cresciuto di circa il 50% negli ultimi 50 anni. Gli scienziati sono attualmente indecisi sul motivo di questo incremento. Secondo i ricercatori, i cicloni tropicali potrebbero aver contribuito con l’invio di una gran parte delle loro nuvole nella stratosfera.

Utilizzando i dati raccolti via satellite a infrarossi dal 1983 al 2006, sulle nubi associate a migliaia di cicloni tropicali, Romps e Kuang hanno dimostrato che in un ciclone, le nubi più alte possono aumentare enormemente attraverso l’atmosfera, da cui poi vengono spinte fin nella stratosfera. Secondo loro i cicloni tropicali hanno il doppio di probabilità di altre tempeste di finire nella stratosfera, e quattro volte in più di probabilità di iniettare del ghiaccio nella stratosfera.

L’acqua che attraversa il limite inferiore della stratosfera, è conosciuta come tropopausa. Situata a circa 6-11 miglia sopra la superficie terrestre, la tropopausa è la parte più fredda del clima della Terra, il che la rende un ostacolo per il sollevamento del vapore acqueo nella stratosfera. L’aria passa lentamente attraverso la tropopausa, diventa così fredda che la maggior parte del vapore acqueo si blocca e ricade sulla Terra.

Ma se le nubi sono molto profonde, come quelle di un ciclone tropicale che possono passare attraverso l’atmosfera ad una velocità di 40 miglia all’ora (oltre 60 km/h), questo avviene troppo rapidamente per poter depositare il ghiaccio nella stratosfera, dove poi evapora. Il che andrebbe ad influenzare anche i cambiamenti climatici in un circolo vizioso.

Fonte: [Sciencedaily]

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