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Rapidly Intensifying Hurricanes Could be a Consequence of Climate Change

Throughout several decades, hurricanes have seen a trend of increasing intensity. The increasing strength of hurricanes has led people to be unprepared for their effects.

A thunderstorm that formed on the western coast of Africa turned into Hurricane Lee within a day. Hurricane Lee spun more than 130 km per hour placing the storm at a Category 1. A day later, it came across warm water in the North Atlantic. This doubled its wind speed from 130 km to 260 km per hour.

While Hurricane Lee caught lots of attention, Hurricane Jova reached Category 4, only a day and a half after becoming a named storm. Andra Garner from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, found that recent storms were more than twice as likely to strengthen to a dangerous category of three or higher within a day. The possibility of a weak hurricane becoming strong within a day went from about 3.2% to 8.1%, within a few decades. Multiple elements boost storms' strengths, such as moist air and warm water, says Philip Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University. The world's oceans have become hotter due to global warming, which has implications for the intensifying abilities of these storms.

In 2023, Earth's climate was impacted by El Niño, which is an ocean-driven pattern that appears every few years. El Niño increased the temperature contrasts between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and raised the temperatures for these oceans above their usual temperatures. El Niño usually makes hurricanes in the Atlantic less likely to happen, but that wasn't the case during 2023.

Research is starting to show that rapidly intensifying hurricanes are due to climate change, a result of humans and their activities. The intensity of hurricanes has tripled from 1982 to 2009 and strengthened hurricanes are more common near land than open ocean areas, which puts many people at risk each year.

[Source: Science News Explore ]

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