2018 HURRICANES LINKED TO CLIMATE CHANGE

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10 october 2018

The Hurricanes, and Climate-Change Questions, Keep Coming. Yes, They’re Linked.

By Henry Fountain, The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2018

Scientists are increasingly confident of the links between global warming and hurricanes.

In a warming world, they say, hurricanes will be stronger, for a simple reason: Warmer water provides more energy that feeds them.

Hurricanes and other extreme storms will also be wetter, for a simple reason: Warmer air holds more moisture.

And, storm surges from hurricanes will be worse, for a simple reason that has nothing to do with the storms themselves: Sea levels are rising.

Researchers cannot say, however, that global warming is to blame for the specifics of the latest storm, Hurricane Michael, which grew to Category 4 with sustained winds of 155 miles an hour, as it hit the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. Such attribution may come later, when scientists compare the real-world storm to a fantasy-world computer simulation in which humans did not pump billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

There are already tantalizing suggestions, however, that the warming caused by all those greenhouse-gas emissions has had an impact on Michael. A 2013 study showed that sea-surface temperatures in the eastern Gulf of Mexico have warmed over the past century by more than what would be expected from natural variability. These are the waters that the hurricane churned across as it headed toward the Panhandle and its maximum wind speeds more than doubled.

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