Hurricanes Are Becoming More Powerful, New Data Suggests

Hurricanes Are Becoming More Powerful, New Data Suggests

Cyclones are intensifying in almost every region of the world where tropical cyclones occur and analyze satellite data for nearly 40 years to see if a warmer planet could be to blame. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted a pre-Hurricane Satellite survey of images from 1979 to 2017 at the Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies.
Writing in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that the intensity of storms increased with global subtropical temperatures, suggesting that changing climate could be an ongoing cause.

James Kossin said in a statement, “Through modeling and our understanding of atmospheric physics, the study agrees with what we would expect in a warm climate like ours.” The probability of a hurricane with a wind speed of at least 100 knots has increased by about 15 percent in the years analyzed with an increase of 6 percent per decade.

Based on previous work published in 2013, these investigations found a similar trend in hurricane intensity over a 27-year period but included more hurricane case studies to show statistically significant results.

 Kossin said, “Our results show that these storms have become stronger globally and regionally, in line with expectations of how hurricanes will respond in a warmer world.” “It’s a good move and boosted our confidence that hurricanes have made global warming stronger, but our results don’t tell us exactly how much of a trend our actions have caused and exactly what natural variability can be.” Tropical cyclones pose a threat to human life and property in many parts of the world. Understanding how storm systems are changing helps society to adapt to changing planets and develop mitigation systems.

The authors write, “Tropical cyclones (TCs), and especially major TCs, pose considerable risk to many regions of the world.” “Identifying changes in this risk and determining causal factors for the changes is a critical element for taking steps toward adaptation.”  

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