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New study: Climate change is making hurricanes more destructive

12 Nov 2019, 14:00 UTC
New study: Climate change is making hurricanes more destructive
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Global warming is a global emergency. It's not just that the world is getting hotter; our climate is a very complex system with a lot of interacting parts, so as carbon dioxide traps ever more heat from the Sun, it's throwing everything off kilter. Some of the ways our climate is changing are obvious (ocean acidification, extreme weather, oceans warming, sea level rise) but others are more subtle.

Take, for example, hurricanes.

Climate change doesn't increase the number of hurricanes overall (the reason hurricanes form is complex and climate change plays into that — for example, warmer water feeds hurricanes more energy, but atmospheric wind shear tends to cut them off at the top, making it hard for convection to really get going ­— but it doesn't appear to change the total number that form), but climate models have shown that there should be a moderate intensification of hurricanes overall in the North Atlantic, and also that the most powerful hurricanes should become more frequent and even more powerful.

That second bit has been shown pretty clearly in recent years; when you look at the most powerful hurricanes they are clearly growing in number and power themselves. But are hurricanes ...

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