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The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones

The authors of this article use satellite data to examine trends in the maximum intensities that cyclones can achieve during their lifetimes.

Results from previous analyses of tropical cyclone trends have been questioned due to a lack of consensus regarding data reliability. Moreover results have not been matched to theory because the focus has mainly been on changes in mean tropical cyclone statistics.

In this article, the authors conclusively show significant increases in the maximum wind speeds achieved by the strongest cyclones across all ocean basins except the South Pacific Ocean, with the largest increases occurring over the North Atlantic and northern Indian Oceans.

These findings are consistent with the idea that as seas warm, cyclones become more intense because the ocean has more energy that can be converted to tropical cyclone wind.

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