Global warming to cause X-treme hurricanes; Sprite sponsorship in works

Coming soon to our warming globe: extreme hurricanes. Research just published in the journal Science suggests that as higher temperatures draw more ocean water into the atmosphere, hurricanes and typhoons will intensify. Over the course of the 20th century, water vapor over the oceans increased by 5 percent overall and 10 percent in areas where hurricanes form, and will jump an additional 7 percent for every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit the planet warms. Climatologists can’t determine if there will be more storms — numbers tend to hold steady worldwide from year to year — but worry about the punch they’ll pack. “It’s not just about the hurricane itself or even the strength of the winds,” says the study’s lead author, Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “It’s every bit as much about the rainfall and the flooding.” According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the five hurricanes that hit the U.S. in 2004 caused more than $850 million in flood damage. Batten down the hatches!