Tropical Cyclones Are Moving Slower, And That's Not Good News

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According to a study released on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, tropical cyclones around the world are moving slightly slower over land and water, dumping more rain as they stall, just as Hurricane Harvey did.

The first tropical storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season formed well off the coast of Mexico on Wednesday, AP reported, as forecasters said it's not a threat to land.

The research, published today in the journal Nature, measured cyclones from 1949 to 2016 and found that the speed at which they move has slowed by 10 percent.

And that was before slowpoke Harvey hit a year ago.

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The Atlantic Basin remains inactive and the storm now has a zero threat to life or land. In some regions, the pace of those storms slowed even more as they hit land.

"We've kind of hypothesized that this type of behavior may happen, this slowing down of the forward speed of the cyclones", said Colin Zarzycki, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who has reviewed at Kossin's study.

The study published in Nature this week by U.S. weather experts shows the problem weather systems are taking longer to travel across the planet.

James Kossin's research showed that over the past 68 years, cyclones have slowed by 10 percent globally as the planet warms.

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The trend has all the signs of human-caused climate change, Kossin said. It points directly to the example of Hurricane Harvey, whose catastrophic rains were enabled by the storm's lingering in the Houston area for such a long period.

Although commending the study for its findings, she said it is not without its limitations.

The reduced speed leads to heavier rainfall and an increased risk of flooding. Rainfall, on average, increased 24 percent.

"Roughly 7 percent more water vapor per degree C of warming", Kossin said. And there are limits to each approach. The fact that their results show quite similar trends should be a wake-up call. "And when you start getting more and more lines of evidence that all point in the same direction, you get more confident in the answers".

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