How Has Hurricane Ian Become More Dangerous Due to Climate Change?

How Has Hurricane Ian Become More Dangerous Due to Climate Change?

As it approaches Florida, Hurricane Ian has strengthened by 67% in less than 22 hours, making it potentially a Category 4 storm. As the planet warms, scientists are becoming more confident in their forecasts. Hurricane Ian, currently lashing Cuba on its way to Florida, is just one example of how climate change is giving fresh life to previously catastrophic weather occurrences.

Like other recent Atlantic storms, this one strengthened rapidly within a day, reaching Category 3 status with a significant increase in wind speed. As it continues over the Gulf of Mexico approaching Florida’s shore, the hurricane is forecast to strengthen to a Category 4 storm. To what end, though, has it suddenly turned so vicious? The answer to that question is global warming.

Why Is Hurricane lan Getting Dangerous?

The warm waters in the Caribbean are giving the hurricane an extra boost. The storm got 67 percent stronger in less than 22 hours from Monday to Tuesday and is bearing down as a potential Category 4 hurricane that promises to bring horrific storm surges.

The hurricane encountered water that was roughly one degree warmer than usual in the Caribbean. Climate change is responsible for the increased heat in the Caribbean, which acts as fuel for the storm. In the meantime, the accumulation of heat-trapping gases from emissions and fossil fuels makes storms slower and wetter, adding salt to the wound. Sea level rise, exacerbated by greenhouse gas-caused freshwater floods, and an increase in the frequency of catastrophic Category 4 and 5 storms, are the primary causes of fatal storm surges. As a result of dry air in the Atlantic, this year’s hurricane season has been unusually quiet, at least up until the past week or two, say scientists.

How Has Hurricane Ian Become More Dangerous Due to Climate Change?

According to scientists, a hurricane’s explosive potential in the form of heavy rains and storm surges increases as its strength increases. Analysis of data from the National Hurricane Center reveals that while hurricane seasons fluctuate year-to-year when looked at over 10-year intervals, there are roughly 25 percent more rapidly intensifying storms in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific now than 40 years ago, the Associated Press reported.

On the other hand, a study that has not yet been analyzed by experts shows that hurricanes are becoming more intense than ever before when they approach the coast. Karthik Balaguru, a climate scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab, told AP, “It’s more likely because of climate change.”

What’s Next for Hurricane Ian?

As the hurricane moves through the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters predict that its maximum wind speed will increase to more than 210 kilometers per hour. Ian hit Cuba which has been dealing with an economic crisis and has seen regular power shortages in recent months.

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It made an impact as a Category 3 storm on the island’s western coast, destroying the Pinar del Río region, where much of the tobacco used for Cuba’s famed cigars is cultivated.

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