Hurricane season 2018: Scientists warn of stronger and wetter hurricanes | Science | News

The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as “an intense tropical weather system with well-defined circulation and sustained winds of 74mph (64knots) or higher”.

Hurricane intensities are ranked on a scale of one to five and major hurricanes are categorised from three and upwards.

Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season produced a staggering number of 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes – the most active season since 1936.

But researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) gravely warned future storms will only get bigger, stronger and wetter.

NCAR scientist Ethan Gutmann said: “Our research suggests that future hurricanes could drop significantly more rain.

“Hurricane Harvey demonstrated last year just how dangerous that can be.”

The scientists came to these conclusions after analysing the impact of the 22 most recent hurricanes.

Using powerful computers to crunch the numbers, they established a high probability those former hurricanes would be more intense if they formed under warmer conditions.

The weather researchers compared high-resolution computer simulations for past climate conditions with identical ones a warmer and wetter climate of the future.

For example, Hurricane Ike which claimed the lives of 100 people along the US Gulf Coast in 2008, could have up to 17 percent stronger winds and 34 percent more water if it formed by the end of the 21st century.

And the overall simulated rates of rainfall for storms forming in the future would increase on average by 24 percent.

Hurricane season 2017 was overall estimated to have caused $215billion in losses, according to insurance company Munich RE.

Hundreds of lives were also claimed from the US coast to the Caribbean making last year’s hurricane season one of the costliest, not only in terms of money.

Ed Bensman, program director at the National Science Foundation, said the study now has major implications for the future of hurricane impacts.

He said: “This study shows that the number of strong hurricanes, as a percent of total hurricanes each year, may increase.

“With increasing development along coastlines, that has important implications for future storm damage.”

Dr Gutmann and his team of scientists published their findings in the science journal Journal of Climate.

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