Is Hurricane Ida a harbinger of unpredictable global warming disasters?

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Is Hurricane Ida a harbinger of unpredictable global warming disasters?
Is Hurricane Ida a harbinger of unpredictable global warming disasters?

Tropical storm Ida, which struck the United States, brought not only a lot of destruction, but also claimed the lives, according to the latest data, about 60 people. Many of the dead people were drowned in their basements. At the same time, economic losses, according to preliminary estimates, amounted to about $ 80 billion. Scientists were alarmed by the fact that this monstrous hurricane is not similar to those that were earlier. Unlike them, it appeared literally from nowhere in a matter of hours. It was quickly energized by the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, which are currently around 29 degrees Celsius, several degrees above the normal average. Therefore, scientists suggest that Ida is an example of those storms that will regularly occur on a warming planet. Their distinctive features will be explosive growth, colossal destructive power, slow movement on land and heavy rainfall. Moreover, you need to prepare for them now.

Devastating storms can be unpredictable natural disasters

Scientists at Louisiana State University Louisiana State University used comparative computer simulations to find out if climate warming influenced Hurricane Ida and other recent storms. That is, they created two models in which they entered all the data with and without greenhouse gas emissions. The result showed that climate change had a significant impact on hurricanes. However, in order to make more accurate final conclusions, scientists will have to spend several more months.

Researchers talk about several links between climate change and the recent hurricane. The main ones are the higher temperatures of the air and the ocean, in comparison with the average.

As mentioned above, one of the most unusual features of this hurricane is that it almost instantly turned from a small spot on the radar into a powerful hurricane. This type of accelerated growth is referred to by meteorologists as rapid intensification, defined as an increase in wind speed of 50 km / h in less than 24 hours. However, Ida surpassed this criterion by far, increasing her speed by 104 km / h in half that time.

Powerful Hurricane Ida formed within hours

At the beginning, the hurricane belongs to the first category, its wind speed was 165 km / h. But then he passed over Cuba and came across the so-called Loop Current, hot Caribbean water. She significantly energized the hurricane, making the storm rise to the fourth category.

Back in 2019, a study was published in the journal Nature Communications that suggested that global warming had made rapid intensification more common. In recent years, some of the most damaging hurricanes have been the result of rapid intensification. These include Hurricane Laura in 2020, Hurricane Michael in 2018, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. And while the ocean itself has periods of natural warming, during which it "charges" hurricanes with more energy, research has shown that the rapid intensification of recent storms is superior to those that occur naturally.

The study by intensification complicates the fact that scientists began to pay attention to this phenomenon relatively recently, in contrast to record droughts or precipitation.Therefore, scientists are now urgently trying to collect more information about him and find out how significant the consequences of climate warming are for him.

However, it is already clear that the rapid appearance of hurricanes will not allow meteorologists to predict them in advance, and thereby minimize their danger. For example, in the case of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, the authorities did not have time to organize a forced evacuation.

Scientists also say that the number of storms should not increase in the future, but they will become more powerful. Over the past century, the temperature of the ocean has been increasing all the time, and this applies not only to its surface, but also to the depths. Therefore, hurricanes that previously may have been held back by the cold water rising from the bottom will now receive much more energy. Accordingly, more and more storms of the third, fourth or even fifth category will occur. In general, this is quite consistent with those ideas about the future of the Earth, which were recently outlined in the UN report.

Hurricanes will be more rainy in the future

Slow rainy storms

While the future of the rapid intensification of hurricanes is still being explored, scientists can confidently say that high atmospheric temperatures will make hurricanes more rainy and slower. When the average temperature rises by one degree Celsius, the atmosphere's ability to retain moisture increases by 7 percent. Consequently, hurricanes will carry more rain. At the same time, storm-blowing winds are expected to be greatly weakened.

When Hurricane Ida hit land, its progress slowed to about 16 km / h. As a result, he "wielded" for a long time in New Orleans, which led to more devastating consequences. For comparison, last year, Hurricane Laura passed over southeast Louisiana at a speed of 32 km / h.

Last year's Hurricane Laura traveled twice as dry as Ida

Because Hurricane Ida “crawled” overland more slowly than the average hurricanes in the area, it spilled enough rain to collapse the dam in Plakemines County and cause flooding in low-lying areas south of New Orleans. Part of this flooding was caused by storm surge that flooded coastal cities.

As climate change makes storms more extreme, this means coastal residents will have to adapt to more dangerous weather. However, one should not think that global warming will not affect the rest of the planet's inhabitants. All countries, including Russia, will experience its negative consequences.

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