The Future of Hurricanes: Stronger, Slower, and Scarier

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientists uncover worrisome trends in the future of hurricanes.

Using high-resolution simulations and the Yellowstone supercomputer at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, scientists have analyzed and identified characteristic differences between past and future hurricanes. The simulations used data collected from over twenty storms between 2000 and 2013 and overlaid a temperature increase of approximately 9 degrees Fahrenheit to reflect the global warming expected by the century’s end. Based on this analysis, the scientists concluded that future hurricanes will be stronger, slower, and much wetter than previous, resulting in increased destruction and devastation. Last year’s hurricane season resulted in a record-breaking estimate of over $200 billion in damages (Hurricane Harvey accounted for $125 billion). A data-backed trend of stronger and wetter storms gives reason to anticipate even more catastrophic hurricane seasons to come, both in damages incurred and lives lost.

It’s normal to have storms this time of year, but to have this powerful of storms is not usual…” - Gabe Vecchi, professor of geosciences at Princeton University

Record-breaking environmental disasters may be inevitable until climate change is better addressed, but record-breaking damages and deaths do not have to be. We at Geospiza are working hard to contribute to our emergency managers’ and disaster responders’ efforts to better understand the most vulnerable populations in disaster, and plan and prepare for appropriate interventions in order to protect as many lives as possible.

Oliver SperansComment