Hurricanes are now twice as likely to become stronger and grow, according to a study

It’s no surprise that the climate crisis is leading to more intense weather, but new research shows how rising ocean temperatures are intensifying tropical storms and causing hurricanes to grow larger and stronger more quickly. A Study published This week, the journal Scientific Reports found that hurricanes that form in the Atlantic Ocean are twice as likely to grow from a small storm to a powerful Category 3 hurricane in just one day.

Andra Garner, assistant professor of environmental science at Rowan University and author of the paper, studied tropical storms that formed in the Atlantic Ocean between 2001 and 2020. Data showed that 8.1% of these storms were upgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 3 hurricane, becoming stronger in 24 hours. She compared this to storms that formed between 1971 and 2000, where only 3.2% of storms intensified that quickly. The study found that there was a parallel increase in rapidly intensifying storms rising sea temperatureswhich are known to trigger tropical storms.

Stronger storms obviously mean greater damage to infrastructure and displacement of coastal communities, but faster-intensifying storms also make it harder for people to adequately prepare or evacuate.

“The rapid intensification of TCs [tropical cyclones] in a warmer climate is of particular concern as such events can be difficult to predict and predict, resulting in potentially escalated damage as well as difficulties in communicating the impending danger to coastal residents who may be in the path of the TC,” the study said .

We have seen several hurricanes in recent years that have become stronger in a worryingly short period of time. Hurricane Maria founded in September 2017 and increased from a Category 1 storm to a Category 5 storm in less than 24 hours. It hit with maximum sustained winds of approx 155 miles per hour. And last month, Hurricane Lee, which was barely a hurricane, formed quickly grew to category 5 in one day.

There are other factors at play, including whether we are in an El Niño or La Niña year. Remember how we went through the storm names so quickly that we had to Speed ​​race through the Greek alphabet in 2020? This was a La Niña year. This year is one Year of origin of El Niño, which means fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic and more in the Pacific. But because ocean temperatures have been so high this year, the National Oceanic and Administrative Administration had to revise its original forecast for hurricane season upward “almost normal” To “above average.” This year, 12 to 17 named storms were expected; The update increases that forecast to an expectation of 14 to 21 named storms.

“Forecasters anticipate that current ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as record-warm Atlantic surface temperatures, will likely offset normally restrictive atmospheric conditions associated with the ongoing El Niño event,” NOAA said in its statement.

There is a solution: curbing climate change Exit from oil and gas Infrastructure to prevent the planet from getting even warmer. “One of the messages of this work is that there is urgency,” Garner said in one opinion. “Unless we make big changes and quickly move away from fossil fuels, this situation is expected to worsen in the future.”

Want more climate and environmental stories? Check out Earther’s guides Decarbonizing your home, Phase out fossil fuels, Pack a disaster bagAnd Overcome climate fear. And don’t miss our coverage of the latest developments IEA report on clean energythe future of Carbon dioxide removaland that invasive plants that you should tear to shreds.

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