Breakdown: Why a warmer climate causes more intense hurricanes

Breakdown: Why warmer climates are causing stronger hurricanes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As global temperatures continue to rise, climate scientists have found that hurricanes are intensifying faster and producing more rain.

Although the number of hurricanes is not rising, the hurricanes that do develop are stronger and more destructive. A recent study in Climate Dynamics found that the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has increased by 25-30% per each degree of warming.

In addition, recent hurricanes have been intensifying faster, which decreases the time for residents to escape a hurricane’s destructive path. According to a study published in Nature, tropical cyclones have been rapidly intensifying with wind speeds intensifying at least 35 mph within 24 hours. In this study, the researchers also found that ocean temperatures have been increasing, which likely explains the increase in rapid intensification. The warmer waters help fuel hurricanes, which results in them becoming stronger in a shorter span of time.

This warmer water and ocean air also results in heavier rain. This is because warmer air is more dense and therefore, can hold more water. A 1 degree increase in temperature equates to a 4% increase in air’s ability to hold water.

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