Unhurried hurricanes: Study says tropical cyclones slowing worldwide


Tropical storm Aletta is well offshore from Mexico expected to strengthen to a hurricane, but will not affect land.

Researchers claim that as the planet's poles heat up, pressure gradients around the world are changing, reducing the winds that push on these storms. He found hurricanes in 2016 moved an average of 10 percent slower than hurricanes in 1949.

The unusually slow-moving Hurricane Harvey was a recent example.

In the Atlantic Ocean basin, the slowdown was not dramatic, just 6 percent. It's 20 percent when storms reached land.

The study is in Wednesday's journal Nature.

The globe's hurricanes have seen a striking slowdown in their speed of movement across landscapes and seascapes over the past 65 years, a finding that suggests rising rainfall and storm-surge risks, according to research reported Wednesday.

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Kossin said the findings were of great importance to society.

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.

Previous research has shown that a warmer climate can hold more water moisture, so when it rains, it rains more. "And that has effects on circulation - typically slows it down".

But Kossin, in his paper, writes that he wouldn't expect big changes in his results due to different means of measurement, since "estimates of tropical-cyclone position should be comparatively insensitive to such changes". However, scientists have struggled to isolate the impacts of climate change on the characteristics of extreme weather events.

The result is more rainfall and more damage to buildings as hurricanes hover over population centers for longer periods of time.

Kossin admits that there are probably both natural and manmade factors influencing the slowing of storms and recommends further studies using climate models to determine how much greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for affecting the storms' speeds.