Tropical cyclones are slowing down due to global warming

Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous.

Tropical cyclones have generally slowed more in the Northern Hemisphere where they are also known as hurricanes and typhoons and where more of these storms typically occur each year. "Not quite like a cork in a stream, but similar", he said. Still, the shift is precisely what he and other cyclone experts said would be expected from climate change.

Although more rainfall is the most direct outcome of slower-moving storms, other impacts can be enhanced as well. But one scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chose to look back in time, to see what happened in the past.

According to the research of climatologist James Kossin, the rise in global temperatures is leading to a slowdown in the speed of hurricanes and typhoons, allowing them to linger atop coastal communities and inflict more damage.

Kossin acknowledged problems with pre-1970s data but said that most of it deals with how strong storms are. The change is even more dramatic in storms that have made landfall from the North Atlantic - they're moving 20 percent slower.

"If the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, then things are going to tend to rain more", Kossin said.

"Still, it's entirely plausible that local rainfall increases could actually be dominated by this slowdown rather than the expected rain-rate increases due to global warming".

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First, he noted that over the more than 60-year period of the study, there may be natural, decades-long cycles in the climate system that could affect the steering of storms and have little or nothing to do with global warming.

Zarzycki's second point is that our means of studying hurricanes have also changed.

That means that storms farther from land in the earlier part of the study may not have had their speeds included in the study.

That's the real risk of a slower storm.

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

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