Scientists sent off a warning on “bigger and stronger” storms coming, as the devastating intensity of hurricanes such Harvey, a monster storm that swamped Huston, matched global warming trends.
Among the many climate factors that play a role in hurricanes such as Harvey are rising seas, warming oceans, hotter air.
“The rarity of hurricanes, coupled with the difficulty of measuring rainfall, makes this highly problematic. Harvey’s rainfall near Houston is more like a thousand year event. But we expect hurricane rainfall to increase substantially this century as a consequence of warming oceans and atmosphere,” said Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT.
“A logical consequence of global warming is a global increase of extreme rainfall events. In the case of Harvey, it is the heavy rain — and the resulting flooding — which is the greatest threat. A global increase of daily rainfall records is indeed seen in the rainfall observations. This trend will continue as long as we keep pushing up global temperatures by emitting greenhouse gases.” Stefan Rahmstorf, Co-chair, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said.
“When storms like this one move inland, they tend to die off. However, lingering near the coast, Hurricane Harvey maintained a healthy energy supply and has been able to continue picking up moisture and dumping it over land through sustained and intense rainfall.” Richard Allan, Professor of Climate Processes, University of Reading said.
Places that are more accustomed to these storms and are better prepared for them may see less exposure, but places that are less well prepared may see more.” James Kossin, scientist, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Weather and Climate