Thomas Robinson | December 1st, 2020
In a recent study, researchers demonstrated have linked slower hurricane decay after landfall to increased moisture from warming oceans.
As a historic hurricane season ends, a paper has linked global warming to the increased strength of hurricanes after they’ve hit land. The researchers found that hurricanes are decaying slower now compared to 50 years ago, with rates that correlated with sea surface temperatures. They also discovered that moisture in the storms provides a heat source which allows the storm to travel further inland and affect communities that may not be prepared for hurricanes.
The 2020 hurricane season broke numerous records, and was predicted to be an above-average hurricane season. Scientists projected 12 named storms to occur in 2020, but instead, there were 30 named storms. A concerning trend is that each named storm, except for three, was the earliest named storm on record. This indicates that these storms are coming earlier than previous years, and that there are connections to climate change.
Climate change is also likely to influence storms affecting Iowa such as the Derecho event in August. While the conditions that led up to the storm are difficult to forecast, it is believed that warming could increase the frequency of severe storms.