Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous
09 June, 2018, 20:53 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
Yet tropical cyclones, which include hurricanes, have grown more sluggish since the mid-20th century, researchers say. A fast storm can distribute its water across a wider surface area, decreasing the chance of extreme flooding.
Slower-moving storms will rain more over a given area, will batter that area longer with their winds, and will pile up more water ahead of them as they approach shorelines, said Jim Kossin, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the study's author. In some regions, the pace of those storms slowed even more as they hit land.
The study published in Nature this week by USA weather experts shows the problem weather systems are taking longer to travel across the planet.
Although more rainfall is the most direct outcome of slower-moving storms, other impacts can be enhanced as well.
To understand the relationship between climate change and hurricane speeds, Kossin analyzed the paths of 7,585 tropical cyclones from 1949 to 2016.
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Kossin said the findings were of great importance to society.
First, he noted that over the more than 60-year period of the study, there may be natural, decades-long cycles in the climate system that could affect the steering of storms and have little or nothing to do with global warming.
By plugging storm data into computer models representing a future with temperatures that are up to five degrees warmer, they found that these cyclones moved 9 percent slower and were far, far wetter.
"Tropical cyclones are just carried along by the wind, so it makes sense", Kossin says.
Kossin concluded that the trend has all the signs of human-induced climate change.
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