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08 June 2018, 09:09 | Dale Webster
Affable aware and in control Jonathan Lord Flagler County’s new emergency chief brings vast state and local experience to the job
Hurricane Harvey lingered over south Texas for more than a week last September, dumping up to 60 inches of rain that left most of Houston underwater and resulted in 93 deaths.
And that was before slowpoke Harvey hit previous year.
Christina Patricola, a scientist with the climate and ecosystem sciences division of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, called Kossin's work "important and new" and says she found it "pretty convincing".
The question of hurricane speed, and whether it would change under global warming, has drawn little attention in the past in comparison with more headline-grabbing questions, such as whether storms are getting stronger overall.
Kossin argues that the slow-down is caused by global warming, which is both increasing rainfall and decreasing wind currents. "Not quite like a cork in a stream, but similar", he said. New researchshows it could also cause them to move from point A to point B more slowly, which might make them even more risky.
Dr Kossin said more rain was also falling during cyclones, and there was evidence that tropical cyclones were migrating more towards the poles.
In the western north Pacific, the slowdown's been 30 percent; in the "Australian" region it's 19 percent.
'This suggests that global warming can enhance rainfall'. But here was a 10 percent slowdown in storm movement speed with only a half- degree Celsius (.9 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming globally over the period he studied.
Tropical cyclones have slowed more in the Northern Hemisphere, which is significant because that is where a majority of storms occur each year.
"If the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, then things are going to tend to rain more", Kossin said.
"It is plausible to say that the local rainfall impacts, the impacts from slowing, are equal to and possibly greater than the impacts from increased water vapor in the atmosphere", he said. "This is the first, to my knowledge, study that's tried to look at the historical record to try to quantify whether that's the case". "The storms will stay in your neighborhoods longer". Still, the shift is precisely what he and other cyclone experts said would be expected from climate change.
Kossin would actually agree on that point.
Zarzycki's second point is that our means of studying hurricanes have also changed.
But there are probably more variables at play than a warmer climate putting the brakes on tropical cyclones. For instance, if exceptionally slow-moving storms have grown more likely in recent years, does that mean "stalled" storms like Harvey-which seemed to get stuck in place for days-are increasing, too?
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