How Climate Change Has Helped Hurricanes Intensify More Rapidly
According to scientists, the process of hurricanes rapidly intensifying is becoming more common, and it is linked to the impact of human-caused climate change.
According to the United States National Hurricane Center, rapid intensification is defined as an increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 knots (about 35 mph) in a 24-hour period.
What role does climate change play in intensification?
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's experts explain that hurricane intensification is a result of climate change since stronger storms are fueled by warmer ocean water.
Dr. Richard Knabb, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida said:
"Warming sea-surface temperatures are playing a role, since they provide fuel for hurricanes, which also rely on a moist and unstable atmosphere — all of which are becoming more conducive for strengthening hurricanes in our changing climate”. "Hurricanes appear to be peaking in strength a bit higher than they used to, and they seem to be intensifying at a rapid rate a bit more frequently. We do not appear to be seeing more tropical storms and hurricanes overall, but the proportion of storms that become majors and that peak a bit stronger appears to be what is increasing."
Climate change is likely also contributing to hurricanes moving more slowly, increasing the duration of winds, storm surge and rainfall that leads to flooding near the coast as well as inland. These disasters will only get worse if climate change continues to be ignored.