New study cites warming ocean temperatures responsible for longer, stronger hurricanes

In this Sept. 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic...
In this Sept. 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the U.S. east coast as seen from the International Space Station.(Source: ESA/NASA via AP)
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 9:34 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There are still a couple of weeks until hurricane season officially ends this year on Nov. 30, but already 2020 has been a record-breaking hurricane season. As of right now, there have been 29 named storms, bringing with them billions of dollars in damage, which is still climbing.

This week, a new study published in the journal Nature, analyzed hurricanes that have struck North America from 1967 to 2018. The study finds that hurricanes are now lasting longer and staying stronger over land.

So how is this happening? The study’s authors say warming ocean temperatures are the driving force behind this long lifespan. They add that if human-caused climate warming continues, the destructive power of hurricanes could extend farther inland and impact communities ill-equipped to handle such damaging storms.

This year alone, the Gulf Coast has sustained billions of dollars in damages. Hurricane Eta was the latest storm to make landfall, which moved in to Florida as a tropical storm late Wednesday. On Monday night, subtropical storm Theta formed in the Atlantic, officially making 2020 the most active hurricane season on record.

Scientists note more research is needed to fully understand the impacts of a changing climate on hurricanes.

To read the full study published by the journal Nature, visit here.

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