Atlantic Hurricanes Are Intensifying Far More Rapidly Than They Did 30 Years Ago, New Research Finds

(From The Guardian)

Atlantic hurricanes are intensifying far more rapidly than they did 30 years ago, according to a new study that analyzed the acceleration in wind speed of previous storms. Major hurricanes are defined by a sharp increase in speed, of at least 28mph in a 24-hour period.

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that these big hurricanes are, on average, speeding up 13mph faster in this 24-hour period than they did 30 years ago. Much of this has to do with shifts in a natural climate cycle called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

Separate research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research suggests this natural variation will combine with escalating warming in the oceans and atmosphere, caused by the burning of fossil fuels by humans, to produce stronger hurricanes in the future. A warm ocean surface, combined with consistent wind patterns, contribute to the formation of fiercer, if not more numerous, hurricanes.

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