We are facing a “worse than normal” hurricane season in the Atlantic, according to scientists. They expect 2021 to bring three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, as well as six to 10 “regular” hurricanes and an additional storm of 13 to 20 named storms. The forecast, which follows a record season in 2020, comes as hurricanes become more destructive over time.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, although storms have developed for the past six years before they officially begin. This year’s announcement comes after the 2020 season which broke the record in 30 storms severe enough to be named.
Hurricanes have become more devastating over time, not least because of the warming effect on the planet. Climate change is causing stronger storms and is also causing more water to drain due to heavy rainfall and a tendency to slow down and last longer. Rising sea levels and slowing storms also lead to higher and more destructive storms. But humans are also playing a role in making storm damage more expensive by continuing to build in vulnerable coastal areas.
The projections come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US agency that deals with meteorology and oceanography. It is based on the updated storm forecast period from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is part of a ten-year review of the statistics used to determine how a season is declared, and reflects the increasing number of storms in the Atlantic Ocean in the US past decades.
More and more agreement on the links between warmer climates and stronger storms
This increased the average number of storms over the course of 30 years from twelve specific storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes to fourteen specific storms and seven hurricanes. The number of major hurricanes remained the same.
The science of predicting individual storms has made huge strides in the period since the last revision. Technological advances mean people can be warned more accurately about hurricanes and storms, and we understand the links between storms and climate change a lot better.
The United States faces this hurricane season amid a series of natural and other disasters. In addition to wildfires and droughts in the west, torrential rains and torrential floods in parts of Louisiana and Texas, many areas are still struggling to recover from last year’s hurricane season and winter storms in February. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has transferred thousands of employees to help run the coronavirus vaccination campaign in the country and to help shelter unaccompanied children crossing the southern border.
There has long been scientific consensus about whether greenhouse gases from human activity are warming the planet, and there is growing consensus about the links between this warming and storms.
So what are some of these links? Thomas Knutson, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has published a series of articles since 2019, including a recent review of a study on sciencebrief.org citing links with the strongest evidence.
Wind gusts of 400 km per hour
Such as the fact that global warming is likely to fuel more powerful tropical storms and contribute to more floods from rising sea levels. Scientists also mentioned that precipitation is likely to increase during tropical storms, as warmer weather can trap more moisture. The proportion of severe storms has also increased, although the total number of storms worldwide has remained roughly the same. We are seeing an increase in the number of hurricanes reaching major hurricane status of Category 3 and above. This can be clearly seen in the satellite data.
James Cosin, also of NOAA, has conducted research that supports the idea of increasing the strength of tornadoes. It even predicts winds of up to 400 kilometers per hour in the future. Major hurricanes, starting in Category 3, have wind speeds of between 180 and 210 kilometers per hour. A Category 5 storm, currently the strongest rating, is 250 km per hour and above.
Other research suggests that after landfall, hurricanes weaken more slowly and last longer, increasing their destructive capacity. Due to the increased amount of water vapor in the atmosphere and slowing storms, there has been a 41 percent increase in local precipitation from storms moving over the ground. Moreover, the storms are shifting: away from the tropics to the north.
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