Season's 1st tropical storm forms in eastern Pacific

Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous.

Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous.

A new study finds that tropical cyclones around the world are moving slightly slower over land and water, dumping more rain as they stall, just as Hurricane Harvey did previous year.

Researchers claim that as the planet's poles heat up, pressure gradients around the world are changing, reducing the winds that push on these storms.

By plugging storm data into computer models representing a future with temperatures that are up to five degrees warmer, they found that these cyclones moved 9 percent slower and were far, far wetter.

"Hurricane Harvey previous year was a great example of what a slow storm can do".

In the Atlantic Ocean basin, the slowdown was not dramatic, just 6 percent.

"The slower the storm gets, the more rain an area will get", said Jim Kossin.

"We've kind of hypothesized that this type of behavior may happen, this slowing down of the forward speed of the cyclones", said Colin Zarzycki, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who has reviewed at Kossin's study.


The study is in Wednesday's journal Nature.

These two trends ought to work in tandem to make today's storms much worse rainmakers.

"The storms will stay in your neighbourhoods longer", he said.

Kossin said the findings were of great importance to society. Given that storms in some regions are migrating poleward and already increasing in intensity, cyclones delivering unusually powerful bouts of rain may threaten places not normally in their path. Still, the shift is precisely what he and other cyclone experts said would be expected from climate change.

"These trends are nearly certainly increasing local rainfall totals and freshwater flooding, which is associated with very high mortality risk", he said.

But there are probably more variables at play than a warmer climate putting the brakes on tropical cyclones.

Hurricanes are slowing down - and leaving behind a lot more damage when they make landfall, according to a new study. "And, unfortunately, this signal would point to more freshwater flooding".

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