Unhurried hurricanes: Study says tropical cyclones slowing

09 June, 2018, 02:36 | Author: Emmett Howard
  • People walk through floodwaters near Interstate 10 in Houston on Aug. 27 2017

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.

Harvey, which killed at least 68 people, dropped a record 60 inches of rain in parts of southeastern Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Kossin estimates that hurricanes have already slowed down enough that they could in theory double local rainfall and flooding.

They say while global warming is projected to increase the severity of the strongest tropical cyclones, warming may bring other more serious effects such as the general weakening of summertime tropical atmospheric circulation. That's mostly because data before the 1970s is not reliable so it is hard to make such conclusions, according to University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

Previous research has shown that a warmer climate can hold more water moisture, so when it rains, it rains more.

Harvey dumped 60.58 inches of rain in Nederland, Texas, from August 24 to September 1.

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Why are storms slowing down?

Kossin's research discovered the slowdown in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres and in every ocean basin except the North Indian Ocean.

The first tropical storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season formed well off the coast of Mexico on Wednesday, AP reported, as forecasters said it's not a threat to land.

In a warming world where atmospheric circulations are expected to change, the atmospheric circulation that drives tropical cyclone movement is expected to weaken. However, scientists have struggled to isolate the impacts of climate change on the characteristics of extreme weather events.

Trenberth points out that this study did not account for these natural cycles, which he said could be behind much of the observed trend.

Kossin concluded that the trend has all the signs of human-induced climate change. It was also based exclusively on observations and didn't use computer models to simulate the Earth with and without warming. "We'll need more formal attribution studies to disentangle these factors".

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