Scientists: World's warming; expect more intense hurricanes

September 15, 2018 by Seth Borenstein
Scientists: World's warming; expect more intense hurricanes
Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A warmer world makes for nastier hurricanes. Scientists say they are wetter, possess more energy and intensify faster.

Their surges are more destructive because has already made the seas rise. And lately, the storms seem to be stalling more often and thus dumping more rain.

Study after study shows that change in general makes hurricanes worse. But determining the role of global warming in a specific storm such as Hurricane Florence or Typhoon Mangkhut is not so simple—at least not without detailed statistical and computer analyses.

The Associated Press consulted with 17 meteorologists and scientists who study climate change, hurricanes or both. A few experts remain cautious about attributing global warming to a single event, but most of the scientists clearly see the hand of humans in Florence.

Global warming didn't cause Florence, they say. But it makes the system a bigger danger.

"Florence is yet another poster child for the human-supercharged storms that are becoming more common and destructive as the planet warms," said Jonathan Overpeck, dean of the environment school at University of Michigan. He said the risk extends beyond the Atlantic Ocean, such as Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the Philippines on Friday.

For years, when asked about climate change and specific weather events, scientists would refrain from drawing clear connections. But over the past few years, the new field of attribution studies has allowed researchers to use statistics and computer models to try to calculate how events would be different in a world without human-caused climate change.

A couple of months after Hurricane Harvey, studies found that global warming significantly increased the odds for Harvey's record heavy rains.

Scientists: World's warming; expect more intense hurricanes
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (NOAA via AP)

"It's a bit like a plot line out of 'Back to the Future,' where you travel back in time to some alternate reality" that is plausible but without humans changing the climate, said University of Exeter climate scientist Peter Stott, one of the pioneers of the field.

A National Academy of Sciences report finds these studies generally credible. One team of scientists tried to do a similar analysis for Florence, but outside experts were wary because it was based on forecasts, not observations, and did not use enough computer simulations.

As the world warms and science advances, scientists get more specific, even without attribution studies. They cite basic physics, the most recent research about storms and past studies and put them together for something like Florence.

"I think we can say that the storm is stronger, wetter and more impactful from a coastal flooding standpoint than it would have been BECAUSE of human-caused warming," Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann wrote in an email. "And we don't need an attribution study to tell us that in my view. We just need the laws of thermodynamics."

Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb looks not just at basic physics but all the peer-reviewed studies that especially link climate change to wetter storms.

"We have solid data across decades of rainfall records to nail the attribution—climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme rainfall events," Cobb said.

Several factors make scientists more confident in pointing the climate-change finger at Florence.

For every degree the air warms, it can hold nearly 4 percent more water (7 percent per degree Celsius) and offer measurably more energy to goose the storm, scientists said.

Scientists: World's warming; expect more intense hurricanes
High winds and water surround buildings as Hurricane Florence hits Front Street in downtown Swansboro N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

"The amount of water that comes out of hurricanes is certainly the most robust connection that we have," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Jim Kossin said.

And to look at Florence specifically, "it's very likely that climate change has warmed the ocean such that the 's intense rainfall is more destructive than without ," said Weather Underground Meteorology Director Jeff Masters, a former hurricane hunter.

The warmer air and water also makes storms more intense or stronger, Stott said.

A Kossin study this year showed that tropical cyclones—a category that includes hurricanes and typhoons—are moving slower and even stalling. Kossin said "it's happening a lot more than it used to." Several studies agree that climate change is to blame but differ slightly in their conclusions.

With the emergence of Florence, some place in the U.S. has been drenched because of a stalled hurricane for four years in a row, storm surge expert Hal Needham said.

Kossin and Overpeck also pointed to studies that show storms are intensifying more rapidly than they used to.

Just like in Superstorm Sandy, scientists said it is clear that hurricane storm surge is worsened by sea level rise because the power of 6 to 10 feet of water comes on top of seas that were considerably lower decades ago. An extra 8 inches or so can mean the difference between staying dry or getting damaged, Masters said.

In the Carolinas, natural and temporary climate factors added to the "march upwards" from global warning. Because of that, the seas have risen nearly 5 inches in five years, said Andrea Dutton of the University of Florida.

Scientists: World's warming; expect more intense hurricanes
In this image from video, residents rescue carry cats they rescued by boat in floodwaters in Jacksonville, N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com cautioned that observers should "stick to overall trends around the world and not individual cases."

University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said there are too many ever-changing factors that make it hard to blame climate change specifically.

"If you are trying to make climate policy," Maue said Friday, "you don't want to make it on a storm-by-storm basis."

Explore further: Unhurried hurricanes: Study says tropical cyclones slowing

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katesisco
1 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2018
Those big hurricanes spawned from Africa attributed to our climate heat? Well for years now Angola and the Congo have been eliminating native jungle cover to make new farmlands . The news reports are that this is merely a season burning of old crop residue but this is much more. This is land clearing on a massive scale. Hence the heat used to spawn the hurricanes.
humy
5 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2018
katesisco

There is no evidence that the amount of heat generated by man made African fires is anywhere near enough to be the main cause of the recent increase in frequency of big hurricanes. If there was, someone would have noticed and reported this astonishing fact and it would be world news because it would be a huge scientific mystery why the heat from the fires would not be dwarfed from the increase in heat from the increase in greenhouse gasses.
Also note smoke tends to reduce solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface and causes cooling.
gkam
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 15, 2018
How many Deniers in the Carolinas are now running or swimming for their lives?
Zzzzzzzz
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2018
Of course Climate Change is responsible for Florence, on many levels. First consider chronological reasons:
1. Human presence is required for anthropological climate change
2. Humans name storms - humans are required for there to be a Florence
3. Without climate change, a the chaotic system path divergence from the current path would have occurred many millennia in the past.

Next physics:
1. Warmer climate = additional energy in climate systems. The higher available energy produces storms with additional energy.
2. Warmer atmosphere holds more humidity (water). Warmer ocean temps feed the storm's ability to grow. This produces storms larger in size that can dump more water (rain).
3. Warmer ocean temps melt ice. Melting ice raises ocean level. Higher ocean level intensifies storm surge.

There are more. The bottom line is that climate change = stronger storms. This is patently obvious, to even the most casual observer.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 15, 2018
The moron AGWites claiming the knowledge of the future from a position of utter ignorance. It is scary people can be so easily duped.
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2018
Hey, . . can'tdrive, go here:
http://www.ipcc.c...ar5/wg1/

As for ignorance, I earned a degree in this field, What did you do?
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2018
gkam
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2018
snoose, send that to the Carolinas.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2018
another effect of GW ?

'' As the world warms and science advances,,, ''
cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2018
As for ignorance, I earned a degree in this field, What did you do?

Your degree only ensures your ignorance.
gkam
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2018

"As the seas warm and the water evaporates, . . . "
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2018
"Your degree only ensures your ignorance. "

Yeah, you folk who never went to that-there school-thing know lots more than those who actually took the hard classes.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2018
''snoose, send that to the Carolinas.''

willfull ignorance now ?
Anonym518498
1 / 5 (4) Sep 15, 2018
blah blah blah
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2018
blah ,, i wonder how giraffes and elephants like 'climate change' , i guess some snow is fun

https://metro.co....7939519/
Maccagnan Cosett
1 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018


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rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
"Your degree only ensures your ignorance. "

Yeah, you folk who never went to that-there school-thing know lots more than those who actually took the hard classes.

You are full of BS, you never took any real science classes. You are an uneducated twit!
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
More unadulterated BS! These so-called scientists are frauds and crooks. Either their so-called science is wrong or the planet is not warming because this hurricane season is pretty mild. Of course these frauds didn't mention that the cold regions must remain cold, while the warm regions warm, in order to intensify the storms. If the whole globe warms as would be the case IF, it were AGW, the storm intensity would remain the same. It is only if there is temperature difference increase, that storms will intensify. This is just more unjustified fear mongering!
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/

As I said, "You know nothing of real science!"
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
In related news

"Complicit! Washington Post Says [Rush Limbaugh has] Joined Trump in Responsibility for Hurricane Florence

"RUSH: Well, yesterday Donald Trump was complicit. Today I, in the same paper, the Washington Post, I, your beloved host, have joined Donald Trump in complicity for Hurricane Florence.

"HOLTHAUS: The people that deny climate change, the people that deny that this problem is happening or that are willfully taking steps to make the problem worse, are complicit in these disasters.

"RUSH: Mr. Holthaus, is it embarrassing to be you? Is it embarrassing to be this dense? Do you really, Mr. Holthaus, believe that? Or is it just something you say because it's what deranged people on your side of the aisle want to hear and believe?

"The average intensity of the 36 most destructive storms has decreased from Category 3.2 in the 1930s to Category 2.4 in 2017."

-But the WP actually wants you to believe that since trump took office, they've gotten worse.
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
Getting your "science" from Oxycontin Rush is not a good idea.
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
"The average intensity of the 36 most destructive storms has decreased from Category 3.2 in the 1930s to Category 2.4 in 2017."

-But the WP actually wants you to believe that since trump took office, they've gotten worse.

The WP are a fraudulent fear mongering propaganda site.
cantdrive85
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
"Your degree only ensures your ignorance. "


Yeah, you folk who never went to that-there school-thing know lots more than those who actually took the hard classes.

I do did going to the schoolin' thang, but I wasn't fully indoctrinated like most who do get "educated". Modern education typically weeds out the real thinkers in favor of experts in rote memorization and those who blindly follow what they are told. Hence, we have the sciences rife with nonsensical bullshit such as all things dark and statistical maths based soothsayers who use their equations as the modern crystal ball.
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
Yes, yes, it hurts your feelings that nobody wants to hear your theories. But we are in the Real World, where facts are numbers and trends are evident, causes and effects are united, and everything fits together from all the sciences for us to understand Reality.
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
Yes, yes, it hurts your feelings that nobody wants to hear your theories. But we are in the Real World, where facts are numbers and trends are evident, causes and effects are united, and everything fits together from all the sciences.

What a pile of unadulterated horse sht!
Get an education!
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
All you have are insults. Please go away. The rest of us are concerned about what is happening with our Earth and the systems which provide us with food, make our Oxygen, and clean our water.

Take your silly politics elsewhere.
rodkeh
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
All you have are insults. Please go away. The rest of us are concerned about what is happening with our Earth and the systems which provide us with food, make our Oxygen, and clean our water.

Take your silly politics elsewhere.


I know, you hate the truth because the truth hurts! I only have insults for uneducated idiots that masquerade as educated. You are an uneducated Yank, you can't get an education in sciences where you come from, the scientific ignorance of Americans is epic and world renown. It's just that it is so much easier to brainwash uneducated and ignorant people, since they don't know anything, they can't think for themselves, so they have to let their political masters do their thinking for them. Just Like You!
gkam
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
I am sorry your life is not going as planned.

But can we stick to the point in this forum in science?
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
You would need an education to be able to understand the point and you lack the education.
You are American, so everything is political for you but that has nothing to do with science.
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
I am sorry your life is not going as planned.

But can we stick to the point in this forum in science?

And this is a propaganda form, not science. The Physics shows quite clearly that there are no such thing as GHGs, so this website is quite clearly a propaganda site, whose name is an oxymoron, as is so often the case on the internet, disinformation network.
gkam
1 / 5 (1) Sep 16, 2018
I think you are Russian.

And this is a site for science, not insulting exchanges.
rodkeh
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
I think you are Russian.

And this is a site for science, not insulting exchanges.

You're an idiot and we need a wall along Our border.
Gordon_Jenkins
2 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2018
Like my Instructor in college taught me, ELI the ICE man! Voltage Leads Current in an inductive AC circuit and Current Leads Voltage in a Capacitive AC Circuit. The Science is settled, Deep Ocean Temperature Leads CO2 levels by up to 800 years. DOT Leads the COmpany of TWO!
Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezey and POOF goes your failed, flawed model! Your right to Lobby for money, that's politics, not science. Repeat after me, "DOT LEADS THE COMPANY OF TWO" Impossible,inexplicable climate science (without the solar forcing and electric, cosmic influences) made easy! Speaking of ICE, Mann gets a 5 minute penalty for high SCHTICKING with a broken SCHTICK!
leetennant
5 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2018
I am sorry your life is not going as planned.

But can we stick to the point in this forum in science?

And this is a propaganda form, not science. The Physics shows quite clearly that there are no such thing as GHGs, so this website is quite clearly a propaganda site, whose name is an oxymoron, as is so often the case on the internet, disinformation network.


Man, I had no idea that physics showed that our atmosphere didn't exist and we were a giant snowball in space. That's amazing! I'm so glad I read the comments so I can find out these fascinating tidbits.
rodkeh
1 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2018
Man, I had no idea that physics showed that our atmosphere didn't exist and we were a giant snowball in space. That's amazing! I'm so glad I read the comments so I can find out these fascinating tidbits.


What an ignorant and uneducated thing to say!
leetennant
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2018
Man, I had no idea that physics showed that our atmosphere didn't exist and we were a giant snowball in space. That's amazing! I'm so glad I read the comments so I can find out these fascinating tidbits.


What an ignorant and uneducated thing to say!


You're the one who said that GHG - the main thing keeping this planet temperate - don't exist.
rodkeh
1 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2018
Man, I had no idea that physics showed that our atmosphere didn't exist and we were a giant snowball in space. That's amazing! I'm so glad I read the comments so I can find out these fascinating tidbits.


What an ignorant and uneducated thing to say!


You're the one who said that GHG - the main thing keeping this planet temperate - don't exist.

What an uneducated and ignorant thing to say!
rodkeh
1 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2018
You're the one who said that GHG - the main thing keeping this planet temperate - don't exist.


It is the Thermal Conductivity of our atmosphere that keeps things tolerable here and that has nothing to do with a GHE but everything to do with, the "Weather!"

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