Climate Change Made 2020 Hurricanes Rainier
By Seth Borenstein.
Climate change made the record-smashing deadly 2020 Atlantic hurricane season noticeably wetter, a new study says. And it will likely make this season rainier, too, scientists said.
Human-caused climate change made the entire season — 30 named storms — drop 5% more rain. During the 14 storms that reached hurricane status the rainfall was 8% heavier, according to the study in Tuesday’s Nature Communications.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re near a threshold, a little bit can push you over the top,” said Lawrence Berkeley National Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner, co-author of the paper. “The implication is that that means there was more freshwater flooding and that the damages from freshwater flooding were increased, but by how much would require a more detailed analysis.”
While past studies have predicted climate change would make storms wetter and found individual storms, such as 2017’s Harvey, were in fact wetter because of human-caused climate change, this is the first study to look at an entire season, Wehner said. That’s important because it removes the selection bias of just picking the worst storms, such as Harvey.
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