Hurricanes Are Slowing Down and Leaving More Damage When They Hit Land

Hurricanes Are Slowing Down and Leaving More Damage When They Hit Land

This isn't about how powerful a storm's winds are, just how fast it chugs along.

"The slower a storm goes, the more rain it's going to dump in any particular area", said study author James Kossin, a climate scientist from NOAA.

And that was before slowpoke Harvey hit a year ago.

For Atlantic hurricanes, the slowdown was 6%. In some regions, the pace of those storms slowed even more as they hit land.

According to the study by Dr Jim Kossin from the National Centers for Environmental Information, tropical cyclones have slowed in both hemispheres and in every ocean basin except the Northern Indian Ocean.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

While the new research suggests hurricanes and typhoons are slowing down over time, more work needs to be done to improve prediction models for how hurricanes may behave in the future. Kossin found that tropical cyclones' forward speed slowed by 10% between 1949 and 2016.

The cause? Most likely, changing wind patterns due to global warming.

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

He said beyond the changes in regularity and intensity of cyclones, their very "behaviour" was being affected by climate change.

For instance, it is expected that hurricanes will rain about 7 to 10 percent more per degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming, as the atmosphere retains more water vapor, Kossin explained.

"Nothing good can come of a slower storm", Kossin told Mashable.

First, he noted that over the more than 60-year period of the study, there may be natural, decades-long cycles in the climate system that could affect the steering of storms and have little or nothing to do with global warming.

"What we're seeing nearly certainly reflects both natural and human-caused changes", Kossin said.

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