Category 6? Climate Change May Cause More Hurricanes To Rapidly Intensify

"A new study shows that we have a lot to worry about when it comes to changing hurricanes as the planet warms."

"In little more than a day, Hurricane Florence exploded in strength, jumping from a Category 1 to a Category 4 behemoth with 140 mph winds. This process — hurricanes intensifying fast — is both extremely dangerous and poorly understood. But new research says that as the climate continues to warm, storms will do it faster and more often, and in some extreme cases, grow so powerful that they might arguably be labeled “Category 6.”

The new science is a testament to the growing ability of supercomputing to power simulations of the planet that show the future of massive features like the atmosphere and oceans, but still also maintain enough detail to capture smaller ones like Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. That's how a model created at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory generated the new findings, and identified how fast-intensifying storms could make things a whole bunch worse later in this century.

"The reason there are going to be more major hurricanes is not necessarily there are going to be that many more storms … it’s really the fact that those storms are going to get there faster,” said Kieran Bhatia, lead author of the new research in the Journal of Climate. Bhatia completed the work while a graduate researcher at Princeton University and the nearby NOAA laboratory."

Chris Mooney reports for the Washington Post September 11, 2018.

Source: Washington Post, 09/12/2018