Cyclones slowing and intensifying - new research

Study Hurricanes are slowing which could be a big problem

Joe Raedle Getty Images People walk down a flooded street in Houston after Hurricane Harvey

Kossin found storms moving across land in the Eastern United States slowed down 20 percent between 1949 and 2016.

The slower a cyclone moves over the ocean, the more moisture and intensity it gathers; the slower it moves over the land, the more time it spends drenching it.

Kossin told Nature that a 10% slow-down in storm speed corresponds to a 10% increase in rainfall when a hurricane makes landfall.

Tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and typhoons, are now crawling across the planet at a slower pace than they did decades ago, dragging out and amplifying their devastation, new research published Wednesday shows.

A scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found a link between global warming and the speed of hurricanes.

"Hurricane Harvey past year was a great example of what a slow storm can do".

A total of 68 people, all in Texas, lost their lives as a direct result of Hurricane Harvey's devastating flooding, the National Hurricane Center reported.

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Kossin started his research before the 2017 season, stopping his analysis at 2016.

Tropical cyclones have slowed more in the Northern Hemisphere, which is significant because that is where a majority of storms occur each year.

Scientist James Kossin said as little as a 10 per cent slowdown could double local rainfall and flooding impacts caused by 1C of warming. It was also based exclusively on observations and didn't use computer models to simulate the Earth with and without warming. It is based exclusively on past observations, he said.

In addition to slower atmospheric circulations possibly causing the storms to move slower, the amount of rainfall that the storms are able to dump is increasing as global temperatures climb.

Outside scientists were skeptical.

Therefore, it would make sense that if the flow around the hurricanes and typhoons is moving slowly, the storms will also be moving slower, which Kossin believes is what he is observing in the data. But Kossin thinks the slower speed of movement - which naturally adds more rainfall to any region the storm crosses may actually be a bigger deal than the simple increase in rain overall.

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