Climate change’s facilitating extreme weather events is no new revelation, but new research confirms that human-caused global warming is making hurricanes more powerful.
A study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that the chance of major tropical storms, which includes hurricanes and typhoons, is going up each year. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study estimates that the chance of a tropical cyclone becoming a Category 3 storm or greater is increasing by eight percent each decade.
James Kossin, lead author of the study, told The Washington Post, “We’ve just increased our confidence of our understanding of the link between hurricane intensity and climate change. We have high confidence that there is a human fingerprint on these changes.”
Using a 39-year data set, researchers found that storms are becoming stronger and wetter, and hurricanes are growing more severe in their intensity.
According to Kossin, “We have a significantly building body of evidence that these storms have already changed in very substantial ways, and all of them are dangerous.”
Researchers are specifically keeping an eye on the tropical Atlantic, which has seen an uptick in early-season storms. Likely due to warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures, more potent storms have been brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.