Hurricanes and Climate Change: what we can expect

Hurricanes have become a part of life here in the Crossroads, but after the wrath of Hurricane Harvey, many of us wondered if we could expect more hurricanes like this in the future.

“T he data shows that although we are seeing more activity, the main point is that the severity, especially of the rainfall, will be increasing as global temperatures increase. Not so much the winds, there’s not enough data to show that the wind speeds will be increasing. But the amount of rainfall will be increasing because of the warming temperatures. So we could see more Harveys as we saw back in 2017 where the amount of rainfall is much heavier and much more concentrated than in previous hurricanes in the history,” Mr. Arellano says.

Hurricanes work to transfer heat from one part of the globe to another. Usually originating in warm waters around 15° latitude north or south of the equator, they work as giant heat engines to transfer the warm moist air from the equator to areas further north in the mid-latitudes to balance out the heat around the globe. With warmer waters creeping further north than ever before, does that mean that areas not used to seeing hurricanes in the past could become more hurricane prone in the future?

“W ell also what we’ve been seeing with global warming, is the maximum strength of the hurricanes has shifted further north. So what that means now is that much stronger hurricanes may be affecting cities much further north than have been seeing hurricanes in the past, say along the eastern seaboard and some of those other communities. Because of sea level increase, we could see higher surges on the coastline as well. So with hurricanes you’ll see heavier rainfall amounts, higher surge values, and further north on the impacts,” says Arellano .