Study: More likely to have consecutive hurricanes | WGN Radio 720

What used to be the rare one-two punch of successive hurricanes hitting the same place every few weeks seems to be happening more frequently, and climate change is making back-to-back storms more frequent and nasty, according to a new study. It is said that it will become something. future.

Using computer simulations, Princeton University scientists predict that as the world warms from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, the deadly storm duets that occur once every few decades will continue to rise. I calculated that it can happen once a year. Natural climate change.

Residents of Louisiana and Florida are already feeling it.

In 2021, Major Hurricane Ida will blow Louisiana with winds of 150 mph. Just 15 days later, a weakened Nicholas came close enough that wind, rain and storm surges were close enough to exacerbate the problem, said co-author of the study, a risk engineer and climate scientist at Princeton University. One Ning Ling said: Her research focused not only on storms, but also on the problems wrought on people by successive hurricanes.

The Ida-Nicholas combo came after Louisiana was hit by five hurricanes or tropical storms in 2020: Cristobal, Marco, Laura, Delta and Zeta. The Lola was the largest of them all, packing 150 mph winds.

After Laura, after relief workers set up a huge recovery center in the parking lot of a damaged open-top church, as the Delta approached, all supplies were pressed against the building and batted in for the next storm. It had to, said United Way of Southwest Louisiana. President Dennis Durrell.

“You can’t imagine. That’s it.”

In 2004, Florida had four hurricanes in six weeks, which prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to take notice of the Sunshine State’s new nickname, “The Plywood State,” because of all the wooden houses.

“We found a trend,” said Lynn. “Those things are happening. They’re happening more often than they used to.”

There is a caveat to this trend. There haven’t been enough hurricanes or tropical storms since about 1950 to show a statistically significant trend, Lin said. So her team added computer simulations of her to see if such trends could be established, and they did.

Lynn’s team surveyed nine storm-prone regions in the United States and found that since 1949, storm risk has increased in seven of those regions.

The team then used a worst-case scenario of rising carbon emissions and a milder scenario in line with current global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases to see what might happen in the future. I was. In both situations, the frequency of successive storms has increased dramatically over current expectations.

The reason isn’t Storm Pass or anything like that. This is based on climate change making storms wetter and stronger, as many studies predict, in addition to rising sea levels. The study focused on the effects of storms, not just the storms themselves.

However, research is divided on whether climate change means more or less storms overall. But Lin said it’s the nastier nature and size that makes the storm more likely to hit roughly the same area.

Increases in the frequency of past series of storms are likely due to reductions in conventional air pollution rather than human-induced climate change. When Europe and the United States halved the amount of particles in the atmosphere since the mid-1990s, Atlantic storms increased by 33%, a NOAA study last year revealed. However, future increases are likely due to greenhouse gases, say two scientists who were not involved in the study.

“This is very bad news for those being harmed,” hurricane scientist Kristen Corbociello of the University of Albany said in an email. “We (scientists) have been warning of massive storm surges with increasing rainfall and landfall of TCs (tropical cyclones) in a warming climate. The results of this study confirm this to be the case. shows.”

Corbosiero and four other hurricane experts not involved in the study said it made sense. Some, including Corbosiero, say it’s hard to say definitively that a continuous trend is already happening.

Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane expert at Colorado State University, said the emphasis on worsening impacts on people, such as storm surges from rising sea levels and increased rainfall from warmer, more powerful large hurricanes, is impressive. said.

“You have to have faith and be able to move forward. You have to be in constant motion,” said Durrell, president of the Louisiana United Way. “Our neighbors mean more than nods to the deterioration.”


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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.


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