Extreme Atlantic Hurricane Seasons Now Twice As Likely
According to a new study, global warming has made highly active Atlantic hurricane seasons twice as likely as they were in 1980. The study links rising ocean temperatures with hurricane activity. Study lead Peter Pfleiderer, a scientist at the Berlin-based Climate Analytics, told the Guardian, "While the attribution of individual tropical cyclone events remains difficult, there can be no doubt that climate change is creating more intense storms.”
BBC: Past seven years hottest on record, EU satellite data shows, January 10, 2022.
Guardian: Climate change is making floods worse | Here's how, October 19, 2021.
Why This Matters
2020 was the most active hurricane season on record, with seven hurricanes worldwide and eleven tropical storms in the US alone. Another study released this week found that in 2020, extreme rainfall over three-hour periods increeased by as much as 11% compared with what would have been expected during pre-industrial times. This year’s hurricane season is looking to be destructive as well. Huge storms displace people from their homes and incur property damages that require time and resources to rebuild. This is becoming the new normal, and this study emphasizes an urgent need to prepare.
NASA: 2020 Hurricane Season, March 9, 2021.
Storms Around The World
Intensifying hurricane seasons bode particularly poorly for islands in the Caribbean, where in the past 20 years, some small island developing states have been hit by major hurricanes up to eight times. The resulting GDP losses add up to an average of 3.7% per year. In 2017, Barbuda lost 90% of its structures to a devastating hurricane season, causing the island to become uninhabited for the first time in 300 years.
Since earlier this year, southeastern Africa has been hit by three tropical cyclones and two tropical storms, affecting over a million people in Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, intensifying typhoons have killed up to 70 people and displaced thousands.
Kevin Reed, a climate scientist at Stony Brook University, told the Guardian, Climate change is often thought of as a distant problem but the reality is that climate change is here, our climate has changed and one of the clearest ways we can see that is through changes in extreme weather, such as hurricanes.”
Al Jazeera: Philippines Super Typhoon Rai | Intensity blamed on climate change, December 28, 2021.