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article imageStorm alert: Hurricanes are getting stronger

By Tim Sandle     May 27, 2020 in Science
New environmental evidence suggests that hurricanes are becoming stronger. Longer-term environmental data signals variations are occurring, with more intense storms being recorded.
Interesting, the data relating to hurricanes is not only confined to one region. The analysis from University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that in virtually every region of the world (where hurricanes occur), the maximum sustained winds are becoming far stronger. This is based on an assessment of 40 years of hurricane satellite imagery, and the application of machine learning as means to decipher weather patterns.
Central to the data analysis was the use of the CIMSS Advanced Dvorak Technique, a process that relies on infrared temperature measurements taken from geostationary satellites in order to estimate hurricane intensity.
Hurricane intensity is typically measured using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. As an example, Hurricane Isabel was Category 5 storm that hit the U.S. East Coast in 2003, and which caused a high-level of damage based on its calculated intensity.
According to lead researcher, James Kossin, these finings "increase our confidence that global warming has made hurricanes stronger." In other words, human activity is responsible for the growing strength of the typical hurricane.
In relation to the intensification of global hurricanes, parallel research from the same research team, has shown that hurricanes are gradually extending further inland, a factor also linked to alterations with the climate. This is equally serious, as it increases the damage and devastation a hurricane can cause. Furthermore, the movement influences how much rain falls in a given area.
The research has been published in the journal PNAS, where the research paper is titled "Global increase in major tropical cyclone exceedance probability over the past four decades."
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