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hurricanes are more intense (more category 5 storms) now that they have been in the past because they gather strength from warmer ocean waters;
hurricanes are more damaging because they are wetter with more rainfall also caused by the warming of oceans; and
the high winds are not the only threat — it is now storm surge as well, which is because of sea-level rise.
Why This Matters: We need to increase our preparedness in order to keep up with worsening hurricanes and severe storms — category five storms are no longer unusual freaks of nature. There have been five Category 5 storms in the last 3 years (Matthew, Irma, Maria, Michael and now Dorian). That means we need to increase the study of hurricanes and severe storms, more data and more modeling to try to get more precise in our forecasts. This week, in order to ensure public safety from these increased hurricane risks, we have had a large area of mandatory evacuations, and many businesses negatively impacted. We also need increased capacity to deal with the impacts — FEMA and the Coast Guard and other first-responding capacities must be expanded. We know this from our recent category five storms – but the Trump Administration is in denial about climate change.
Warm Ocean Water Increases Destructive Force
The Union of Concerned Scientists explains that “oceans have taken in nearly all of the excess energy created by global warming, absorbing 93 percent of the increase in the planet’s energy inventory from 1971-2010.”
“There is some evidence that there will be an increase in the frequency of the most intense storms, though there is more evidence of this finding for the eastern North Pacific than there is for the western North Pacific and Atlantic.”
Scientists also predict that there will be a “doubling or more in the frequency of category 4 and 5 storms by the end of the century—with the western North Atlantic experiencing the largest increase.”
In addition, “sea level is likely to rise by one to four feet globally by the end of the century, enabling the powerful surge associated with hurricanes to penetrate further inland than today.”
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A record-setting heatwave is brewing across much of the West, threatening to worsen the already dire drought conditions and push electric grids to the brink. California’s power grid operator is urging residents to conserve power in response to the heatwave. The California Independent System Operator is trying to avoid implementing […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Climate change is raising temperatures, but it’s not being felt equally. In the U.S., people of color and low-income communities are exposed to higher temperatures and more smog than white residents. Two new studies show this correlation: A survey of temperatures across 175 of the largest U.S. cities found […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30, is about to bring a higher-than-average storm formation, just like last year, according to the NOAA. The agency predicted “above normal” hurricane activity, with a 70% probability of 13 to 20 named storms. Six to […]
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