Hurricanes are slowing, which could be a big problem


Slow-moving tropical storms and hurricanes also lead to strong winds blowing for a longer duration over the same place and possibly more storm surge, Kossin told the AP.

"These trends are nearly certainly increasing local rainfall totals and freshwater flooding, which is associated with very high mortality risk", he said.

Is Hurricane Harvey a preview?

James Kossin's research showed that over the past 68 years, cyclones have slowed by 10 percent globally as the planet warms.

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Hurricane Harvey, which progressed at a walking pace over eastern Texas after making landfall in late August, dumped rain in amounts that were a record from a tropical system in the United States: more than 60 inches.

Kossin argues that the slow-down is caused by global warming, which is both increasing rainfall and decreasing wind currents.

Previous research has shown that a warmer climate can hold more water moisture, so when it rains, it rains more.

If Harvey is any indication of what hurricanes will look like in the future, this will create a considerable strain on countries' ability to respond financially to storms.

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These slower speeds don't mean the winds circling the eye of the storm are slowing down.

Dr Kossin said more rain was also falling during cyclones, and there was evidence that tropical cyclones were migrating more towards the poles.

In a warming world where atmospheric circulations are expected to change, the atmospheric circulation that drives tropical cyclone movement is expected to weaken.

The result is more rainfall and more damage to buildings as hurricanes hover over population centers for longer periods of time. Still, the shift is precisely what he and other cyclone experts said would be expected from climate change. It was also based exclusively on observations and didn't use computer models to simulate the Earth with and without warming. "We'll need more formal attribution studies to disentangle these factors".

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