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Why This Matters: Devastating storms like Seroja can completely upend peoples’ lives, and warming oceans are making storms more dangerous, with stronger winds and more rain. In Indonesia, tropical cyclones used to be rare, according to weather agency head Dwikorita Karnawati.
“Seroja is the first time we’re seeing tremendous impact because it hit the land. It’s not common,” she told a news conference, noting that climate change could be the reason.
Since climate change leads to tropical storms with heavier rains — as the U.S. saw during last year’s hurricane season — the devastating floods and landslides that have already caused much damage are also making rescue efforts more difficult.
Warmer waters, wetter storms
The connection between warming temperatures and increased precipitation is one of the best-understood weather impacts of the climate crisis. As Yale Climate Connections explains, “Simply put, the warmer the air is, the more moisture it can hold and the more rain it produces.” Every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature means the atmosphere can hold about 7% more moisture. (So keeping within the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees C also means stopping the atmosphere from taking in 10% more moisture.)
In a hurricane or cyclone, the effect is even stronger, creating a massive increase in rainfall. Research by MIT’s Kerry Emanuel, a meteorologist and climate scientist who studies cyclones, finds a sixfold increase in the chances of a rain-drenched storm like Hurricane Harvey since the late 20th century.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer After a record-breaking drought, much of the West and Southwest has been hoping for a winter of rain. But with scientists predicting a second consecutive winter with La Niña conditions, the dry spell may be prolonged. La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to produce droughts in the […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As California’s summer fire season comes to a close, autumn’s Santa Ana winds have intensified a fast-moving wildfire now terrorizing Santa Barbara County. The Alisal fire began Monday afternoon. Since then, it has engulfed 16,801 acres and is only 5% contained, according to CalFire. As a result, a portion […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there have been 18 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2021, surpassing 2020’s disaster costs with almost three months still left until 2022. Experts say that weather events across the spectrum, including wildfires, hurricanes, and severe weather, are not […]
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