Unhurried hurricanes: Study says tropical cyclones slowing

Unhurried hurricanes: Study says tropical cyclones slowing

Unhurried hurricanes: Study says tropical cyclones slowing

This isn't about how powerful a storm's winds are, just how fast it chugs along.

In the last 70 years the storms have slowed by ten per cent.

The Atlantic Basin remains inactive and the storm now has a zero threat to life or land.

The center said the storm was likely to strengthen some more as it moved farther out into the Pacific, but predicted Aletta would begin weakening Saturday.

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Study author James Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Harvey is a great example of what he found.

The study, released Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, showed a 10% decrease in forward speed globally between 1949 and 2016, though there is some variation among ocean basins. Adding last year's storms would have made the slowdown a bit more prominent, he said.

First, he noted that over the more than 60-year period of the study, there may be natural, decades-long cycles in the climate system that could affect the steering of storms and have little or nothing to do with global warming.

Kossin concluded that the trend has all the signs of human-induced climate change.

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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 fact that their results show quite similar trends should be a wake-up call.

Kossin acknowledged problems with pre-1970s data but said that most of it deals with how strong storms are.

But there are probably more variables at play than a warmer climate putting the brakes on tropical cyclones.

Overall, while scientists will need to dissect and better understand the new findings, it's hard to mistake the implication that intense, torrential rainfall associated with hurricanes could be getting worse when they make landfall because the storms are, basically, dragging out the punishment that they deliver to the places where they strike.

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That's the real risk of a slower storm. "And, unfortunately, this signal would point to more freshwater flooding".

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