Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Hurricanes are traveling more slowly - which makes them even more dangerous

Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous. Hurricanes Are Slowing Down and Leaving More Damage When They Hit Land
Velma Reese | 09 June, 2018, 00:43

A new study finds that tropical cyclones around the world are moving slightly slower over land and water, dumping more rain as they stall, just as Hurricane Harvey did past year. "Hurricane Harvey a year ago was a great example of what a slow storm can do". The change is even more dramatic in storms that have made landfall from the North Atlantic - they're moving 20 percent slower.

Kossin works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Kossin published his findings Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Dr Kossin said more rain was also falling during cyclones, and there was evidence that tropical cyclones were migrating more towards the poles.

"Nothing good can come of a slower storm", Kossin told Mashable.

The authors say the slowdown is likely to contribute to worsening destruction alongside the associated increase in rain rates caused by global warming.

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Although commending the study for its findings, she said it is not without its limitations.

Previous research has shown that a warmer climate can hold more water moisture, so when it rains, it rains more.

But there are probably more variables at play than a warmer climate putting the brakes on tropical cyclones.

Harvey was the second costliest storm on record, behind Hurricane Katrina, totaling $125 billion in damage - of which about two-thirds were uninsured flood losses. However, scientists have struggled to isolate the impacts of climate change on the characteristics of extreme weather events. Instead, it means the tracks of the storms have slowed, allowing them to hover in one location for longer periods of time.

Kossin admits that there are probably both natural and manmade factors influencing the slowing of storms and recommends further studies using climate models to determine how much greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for affecting the storms' speeds.

Kossin concluded that the trend has all the signs of human-induced climate change.

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