Tropical cyclones have slowed over the last 70 years | Science News

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Tropical cyclones have slowed over the last 70 years

That could mean more rainfall when the storms make landfall

By
1:34pm, June 6, 2018
Satellite image of Hurricane Harvey

TROPICAL TORRENTS  Tropical cyclones, such as 2017’s Hurricane Harvey (shown making landfall), are moving more slowly, potentially making them more dangerous.

Tropical cyclones don’t move as fast as they used to.

The fierce, swirling storms move 10 percent slower, on average, than they did nearly 70 years ago, a new study finds. Such lingering storms can potentially cause more damage by dumping even more rainfall on land beneath them.

Atmospheric scientist James Kossin examined changes in how quickly tropical cyclones, known as hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, moved across the planet from 1949 to 2016. Storms slowed at different rates depending on the region, with the biggest changes seen in the Northern Hemisphere, Kossin reports in the June 7 Nature.

Over that same time period, the average temperature of Earth’s surface rose by about half a degree Celsius. Scientists already predict that average wind speeds will increase in tropical cyclones as ocean

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