When humans burn fossil fuels, some specific gases released trap the sun’s heat, and cause global climate change by the greenhouse effect. The warming climate is bringing changes to our day-to-day weather.
Two research studies published in 2020 show that climate change tends to cause major hurricanes to become more frequent and more destructive. Hurricanes vary in intensity, so a major hurricane, of category three or higher, has winds faster than one hundred ten miles per hour. A team of American researchers studied satellite images of hurricanes over a forty-year period, from 1979 to 2017. They found that the number of category three hurricanes increased by about eight percent every decade over that time. This confirms mathematical models and computer simulations of Earth’s climate, which predict that a warmer world should generate more intense hurricanes.
A second study, led by Japanese scientists, showed that hurricanes are retaining their strength longer after striking land, making them more destructive. These researchers studied Atlantic hurricanes over fifty years. They found that in 1967 hurricanes lost about seventy-five percent of their strength within the first day of landfall. But, by 2018 this decay was only about fifty percent.Hurricanes are fueled by thermal energy from the warm ocean surface. They dissipate as they move inland because this source of moisture and heat is cut off. Because more water evaporates when the ocean surface is warmer, warmer surface temperatures could explain the increase in hurricane intensity seen in the researchers’ data. That explains why hurricane strength depends on climate conditions and implicates global climate change as a cause.