Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Hurricanes Slower Moving Now, Dump More Rain, Study Finds

Hurricanes Slower Moving Now, Dump More Rain, Study Finds

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

On June 5, NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Aletta as it was developing in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The western North Pacific basin, where the strongest systems are referred to as typhoons and super typhoons, sees the most storms annually and has seen the most slowing, at 20%.

He said Hurricane Harvey in Texas a year ago was a dramatic example of the consequences of a slow-moving or "stalled" tropical cyclone.

He and other scientists still don't know exactly why it's happening.

Researchers claim that as the planet's poles heat up, pressure gradients around the world are changing, reducing the winds that push on these storms.

The authors say the slowdown is likely to contribute to worsening destruction alongside the associated increase in rain rates caused by global warming. "And that has effects on circulation - typically slows it down".

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'The laws of thermodynamics reveal that, as the atmosphere warms by 1°C, the amount of moisture it can hold increases by 7 per cent.

These lingering tropical cyclones - including hurricanes and typhoons - are increasing the risk of deadly flooding worldwide, scientists have warned. But Kossin thinks the slower speed of movement - which naturally adds more rainfall to any region the storm crosses may actually be a bigger deal than the simple increase in rain overall. Under the right conditions, that can do far more damage than high winds or storm surge.

'These trends are nearly certainly increasing local rainfall totals and freshwater flooding, which is associated with very high mortality risk'.

"Hurricane Harvey previous year was a great example of what a slow storm can do". It points directly to the example of Hurricane Harvey, whose catastrophic rains were enabled by the storm's lingering in the Houston area for such a long period.

Harvey dumped 60.58 inches of rain in Nederland, Texas, from August 24 to September 1.

In the meantime, he wants to look at the rainfall numbers to start measuring whether today's slower storms have in fact been dumping more water.

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