Hurricanes are slowing down, wreaking havoc on coastal communities

Pablo Tucker
June 9, 2018

Atlantic storms that make landfall moved 2.9 miles per hour slower than 60 some years ago, it said.

The study in the journal Nature, finds a 10 percent slowdown in storm speed between 1949 and 2016.

And that was before slowpoke Harvey hit a year ago.

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.

Unhurried hurricanes also mean strong winds blowing more often over the same place and possibly more storm surge, Kossin said.


These lingering tropical cyclones - including hurricanes and typhoons - are increasing the risk of deadly flooding worldwide, scientists have warned.

Kossin concluded that the trend has all the signs of human-induced climate change. "Not quite like a cork in a stream, but similar", he said.

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

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

Kossin found storms moving across land in the Eastern United States slowed down 20 percent between 1949 and 2016.


Warmer air is able to hold more water vapor through a process called the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, which shows that the water-holding capability of air increases about 7% with each degree Celsius of warming.

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

Hurricanes are slowing down - and leaving behind a lot more damage when they make landfall, according to a new study.

"Still, it's entirely plausible that local rainfall increases could actually be dominated by this slowdown rather than the expected rain-rate increases due to global warming".

"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. Instead, it means the tracks of the storms have slowed, allowing them to hover in one location for longer periods of time.


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