Atlantic Hurricanes Are Becoming Stronger Faster, Largely Due to Climate Change

Hurricane Michael, October 10, 2018. © NASA/NOAA

It took Hurricane Michael just 24 hours to intensify from a Category 1 storm to a Category 4 before slamming into Florida’s Gulf Coast last October. Similarly, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 went from a Category 2 to a Category 4 in less than a day.

This trend of rapid intensification is becoming more common among tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean, largely due to climate change.

Between 1982 and 2009, the percentage of Atlantic storms that underwent rapid intensification tripled. Natural variability cannot explain the magnitude of the observed upward trend.

Warm ocean temperatures help to fuel hurricanes where most of these storms intensify, have measured as much as 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

ENN / Environmental News Network

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