Strong winds, deadly storm surges and a trail of destruction. Recent hurricanes have wreaked havoc in the United States. And you might be wondering, how does a hurricane work? So, the important thing to understand about hurricanes is that they only form over warm water. Think of warm water as the fuel to the engine that is a hurricane. A hurricane forms when warm air over the ocean rises. As that warm air rises, cool air sort of fills in below it, kind of creating that cyclonic action. At the top, it forms clouds, and those clouds create the rain system that we associate with hurricanes.
So, many people are wondering, is climate change making hurricanes worse? Yes. Remember we talked about how warm water is the fuel for a hurricane? Because of climate change, the oceans are much warmer than they used to be. In recent years, we’ve seen very powerful hurricanes like Harvey and Florence. And the obvious question is, what do they have in common? Both of these hurricanes formed in unusually warm waters.
Hurricane Harvey formed in waters around the Gulf of Mexico that were, on average, about 1 degree Celsius warmer than average. Florence is being powered by waters that are 2 degrees Celsius warmer than average. So that’s a lot more energy going into the storm. The worry with Florence is not just when it hits land, but how long it will stick around and how far inland that will go. So does this mean we’re going to have more storms like this? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is storms like this are even worse. There’s some talk about potentially raising the hurricane category scale to include a 6 for stronger winds than we currently have. There is some concern or some evidence suggesting that hurricanes are moving further north. So that means they’re going to be showing up in places that they haven’t traditionally existed and, potentially, even in places like Europe.
When there’s a hurricane, when there’s a wildfire, climate change often comes up. But climate change is our new reality. And if we don’t take steps to mitigate it, we will continue to see powerful, severe hurricanes. And more and more people are going to be put in harm’s way. .
As found on Youtube