Hurricanes are slowing down, wreaking havoc on coastal communities

Hurricanes are slowing down, wreaking havoc on coastal communities

Hurricanes are slowing down, wreaking havoc on coastal communities

In the Atlantic Ocean basin, the slowdown was not dramatic, just 6 percent. The storms, in effect, are sticking around places for a longer period of time.

Slower-moving storms will rain more over a given area, will batter that area longer with their winds, and will pile up more water ahead of them as they approach shorelines, said Jim Kossin, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the study's author.

In particular, a slowing of circulation as the polar regions warm up faster than equator ought to slow down storm tracks, as well.

Experts believe that continued global warming will increase the severity of tropical storms, but they also believe this anthropogenic warming will increase rainfall.

Warmer air is able to hold more water vapor through a process called the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, which shows that the water-holding capability of air increases about 7% with each degree Celsius of warming. But one scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chose to look back in time, to see what happened in the past.

When Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in 2016, many scientists pointed to the fact that the storm hovered over the area for four days, dropping record amounts of water.

Although commending the study for its findings, she said it is not without its limitations.

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That's the real risk of a slower storm.

"Tropical cyclones are just carried along by the wind, so it makes sense", Kossin says.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said "I just need more convincing that there actually has been a 10% motion change".

"What we're seeing nearly certainly reflects both natural and human-caused changes", Kossin said. Indeed, after around 1980, we could observe them by geostationary satellite - before that, storms in the open ocean might have been missed completely and gone unrecorded, at least if they never encountered any vessel.

He said beyond the changes in regularity and intensity of cyclones, their very "behaviour" was being affected by climate change.

"Probably the amount of rainfall, in terms of mortality risk, is probably the most risky thing associated with the slowing", Kossin said. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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