Friday, 14 December, 2018

Aletta becomes first hurricane of eastern Pacific season

Affable aware and in control Jonathan Lord Flagler County's new emergency chief brings vast state and local experience to the job Affable aware and in control Jonathan Lord Flagler County’s new emergency chief brings vast state and local experience to the job
Doris Mccormick | 09 June, 2018, 00:42

While this sounds like good news, it isn't: It's not that hurricanes' wind speeds are diminishing, but instead how fast the entire storm moves, a new study reports.

Slower-moving storms mean greater rainfall totals, as seen with Hurricane Harvey in Texas a year ago.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey's torrential rains, which dumped several feet of water on sections of Houston, Texas, last August, scientists showed that warmer sea and air temperatures pumped more moisture into the storm-which then fell as rain.

In the western north Pacific, the slowdown's been 30 percent; in the "Australian" region it's 19 percent. In some regions, the pace of those storms slowed even more as they hit land.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

Unhurried hurricanes also mean strong winds blowing more often over the same place and possibly more storm surge, Kossin said.

The authors say the slowdown is likely to contribute to worsening destruction alongside the associated increase in rain rates caused by global warming.

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But there are probably more variables at play than a warmer climate putting the brakes on tropical cyclones.

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

Tropical cyclones have slowed more in the Northern Hemisphere, which is significant because that is where a majority of storms occur each year. NOAA researchers say the flooding was the main cause of 68 deaths and $125 billion in damage. "And that has effects on circulation - typically slows it down".

With the exception of the Indian Ocean region, which tends to behave differently, "all the other regions show this consistent slowing", Kossin says.

Recent research also found that "blocking" of the jet stream can lead to extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods.

But Kossin chose to investigate it, based on the expectation that climate change is already altering the general, large-scale circulation of the atmosphere, within which hurricanes are embedded and by which they are steered.

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