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Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous. Hurricanes Are Slowing Down and Leaving More Damage When They Hit Land
Sandy Nunez | 08 June, 2018, 21:09

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

Tropical cyclones have slowed more in the Northern Hemisphere, which is significant because that is where a majority of storms occur each year.

Worldwide cyclones have become sluggish, slowing down 10 per cent over the past 70 years.

Kossin argues that the slow-down is caused by global warming, which is both increasing rainfall and decreasing wind currents. In some regions, the pace of those storms slowed even more as they hit land.

Previous research has shown that a warmer climate can hold more water moisture, so when it rains, it rains more. A slow storm increases the risk of damaging floods.

If Harvey is any indication of what hurricanes will look like in the future, this will create a considerable strain on countries' ability to respond financially to storms. That rainfall total is the heaviest from any tropical cyclone in the United States in records dating to 1950, topping the 48-inch storm total in Medina, Texas, from Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978, according to NOAA's Weather Prediction Center meteorologist David Roth.

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There is considerable evidence that global summertime circulation patterns in the atmosphere are slowing as a result of global warming.

Gutmann and Kossin took entirely different approaches-one looking at historical data; the other using modeling to see how storms would behave under predicted warming scenarios.

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".

The unusually slow-moving Hurricane Harvey was a recent example. It was also based exclusively on observations and didn't use computer models to simulate the Earth with and without warming.

Scientists expect climate change is going to make tropical cyclones - including hurricanes - more severe. "We'll need more formal attribution studies to disentangle these factors".