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Hurricanes are getting stronger across planet

Storms grow 8% stronger over past 4 decades

Dorian's 185 mph winds made it the strongest hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas since records began in 1851. The eye of major Hurricane Dorian approaching Abaco Island, Bahamas, on September 1, 2019.
Dorian's 185 mph winds made it the strongest hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas since records began in 1851. The eye of major Hurricane Dorian approaching Abaco Island, Bahamas, on September 1, 2019. (NOAA)

It may not come as any surprise but a new study, from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, show that hurricanes are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis.

Look at recent examples: Hurricane Dorian was the strongest to hit Bahamas; Hurricane Michael was the strongest to hit north Florida; Irma was the strongest storm ever on record in the Atlantic outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico; and 2017’s Maria qA the 10th most intense hurricane on record worldwide.

Strength is shown across the globe with Super Cyclone Amphan, recently becoming the strongest storm on record in the Bay of Bengal.

The study supports the worldwide trend that the probability of storms reaching major hurricane status with winds in excess of 110 mph or higher have increased decade after decade over the past 40 years.

“The change is about 8% per decade,” according to researcher Jim Kossin, who is an expert on hurricanes and recently discovered hurricanes are also slowing down in forward speed by 10%.

Stronger slower storms are an evenly deadlier combination as witnessed by Hurricane Dorian which was nearly stationary over Grand Bahama Island and Hurricane Harvey that parked over Houston.

Kossin and his team’s research spanned the globe, showing that storms across the world are becoming stronger and thus more destructive, as the higher-end of the scale storms produce a disproportionate amount of damage and deaths; a trend likely continue into the future

The intensity of a tropical cyclone is determined by either the storm’s maximum sustained winds or lowest barometric pressure.

Nearly all significant damage and deaths are caused by major Category 3 to 5 hurricanes.

What’s driving stronger storms? The study reveals global warming has increased sea surface temperatures. Warmer seas along with changes in atmospheric conditions helps to boost storm strength.


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