Hurricanes Are Slowing Down and Leaving More Damage When They Hit Land

09 June, 2018, 20:55 | Author: Devin Moran
  • Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous.

A fast storm can distribute its water across a wider surface area, decreasing the chance of extreme flooding.

"The slower a storm goes, the more rain it's going to dump in any particular area", said study author James Kossin, a government climate scientist.

In the western north Pacific, the slowdown's been 30 percent; in the "Australian" region it's 19 percent.

The research, published today in the journal Nature, measured cyclones from 1949 to 2016 and found that the speed at which they move has slowed by 10 percent.

"Nothing good comes out of a slowing storm", Dr Kossin told National Geographic.


But Kossin, in his paper, writes that he wouldn't expect big changes in his results due to different means of measurement, since "estimates of tropical-cyclone position should be comparatively insensitive to such changes".

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

'The laws of thermodynamics reveal that, as the atmosphere warms by 1°C, the amount of moisture it can hold increases by 7 per cent.

"It is far from clear that global climate change has anything to do with the changes being identified", said Kevin Trenberth, a senior climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Wind speeds within the storm remain high, but the whole system itself moves slower across the landscape, allowing punishing rains to linger longer over communities. The storms, in effect, are sticking around places for a longer period of time.

"What we're seeing nearly certainly reflects both natural and human-caused changes", Kossin said.

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