It took Hurricane Michael just 24 hours to intensify from a Category 1 storm to a Category 4 before slamming into Florida’s Gulf Coast last October.
It took Hurricane Michael just 24 hours to intensify from a Category 1 storm to a Category 4 before slamming into Florida’s Gulf Coast last October. Similarly, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 went from a Category 2 to a Category 4 in less than a day. This trend of rapid intensification is becoming more common among tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean, largely due to climate change, according to new research published in the journal Nature Communications.
Between 1982 and 2009, the percentage of Atlantic storms that underwent rapid intensification — technically defined as an increase in wind speed greater than 35 miles per hour in 24 hours — tripled, the study found. “Natural variability cannot explain the magnitude of the observed upward trend,” the scientists wrote. Warm ocean temperatures help to fuel hurricanes; in recent years, parts of the Gulf of Mexico, where most of these storms intensify, have measured as much as 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average.
Read more at Yale Environment 360
Image: A view of Hurricane Michael after it made landfall in the Florida panhandle on October 10, 2018. CREDIT: NASA/NOAA