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Chris Mooney @chriscmooney
, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. So a pretty big deal study about changes to hurricanes under global warming -- changes that have apparently *already happened* -- has just come out. My coverage here:…
2. The original study, in Nature, can be found here…
3. The new finding is that the storms are moving more slowly. This refers not to their wind speeds, but rather, the speed at which the entire rotating bundle of wind travels across the ocean or land, guided by the larger atmospheric flow, what scientists dub "steering currents."
4. Here's a visualization of the findings, released by @NOAA
5. This is a big deal because, as study author Jim Kossin explained to me, a storm that travels more slowly would rain more, pummel any given area with its winds for longer, and even drive a larger storm surge ahead of it. All of which is bad.
6. The change Kossin documents is also quite large in light of the amount of global warming that has occurred so far. A 10 percent slowdown in speed for half a degree C of warming.
7. Most of all, covering this, I’m struck by how far the debate over hurricanes and climate change has drifted since the early salvos in 2004 and 2005.
8. Back then, it was all about whether storms were getting more intense, when measured by the maximum sustained wind speed. And incidentally, a number of scientists continue to make the case that this is starting to happen…
9. But as I’ve argued before, there are just so many other ways that storms could change, besides a mere increase in intensity.…
10. They could rain more, they could become more (or less) numerous, they could become larger in size, they could travel to new areas farther from the equator, they could spin up or intensify more rapidly, they could occur in new areas, or in different times of the year....
11. Add to this now that, well, they could slow down. In fact, it looks like they already have.
12. So there’s no one single way that hurricanes could or would change. There are a multitude of ways – and growing evidence that some of the changes are already happening. /end
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