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Is Climate Change Fueling More Intense, Stalling Hurricanes?

Hurricane Dorian delivered a minor blow to much of Florida this week after spending a deadly day and a half over the northern Bahamas. Dorian is the fifth Category Five storm in the Atlantic in four years—after Matthew, Irma, Maria, and Michael. Climate researchers now see a trend of hurricanes stalling in coastal areas like Dorian.

Other recent examples of hurricanes stalling and dumping large amounts of rain over a small area include Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018. The longer a hurricane stalls, the more rain it pours on that area.

While many climate experts cannot draw a direct link between stalling hurricanes and global warming, they do say it fits with some of the changes to large scale hemispheric weather patterns that could be driven by global warming. But proving a direct link requires studying many more intense hurricanes over many years.

Dr. Andrea Dutton is a professor of geology at the University of Wisconsin, studies climate change to predict the future of sea level rise. Bob Berwyn is a reporter for Inside Climate News. Both were guests on The Florida Roundup.

An excerpt follows.

The Florida Roundup: As the science is getting collected from Dorian, what strikes you first of all about the speed of the storm or the lack of it?


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