Uptick in North American hurricanes since 1970s linked to human activities, US government report says
By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
November 06, 2017, 1:37:26 PM EST
The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) was publicly released on Nov. 3 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The report is a stand-alone report on the science relating to climate change and its physical impacts, with a focus on the United States.
The report was unveiled by 13 federal agencies and was approved for release by the White House.
The report stated that global average temperatures have increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 115 years, making this period the warmest in the history of modern civilization. Human activities are the dominant cause of this global temperature rise, the report concluded, adding that there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the observational evidence.
The report addressed the role of human-caused climate change in extreme hurricanes, which has been a controversial topic due to this season's destructive storms.
"Human activities have contributed substantially to observed ocean–atmosphere variability in the Atlantic Ocean, and these changes have contributed to the observed upward trend in North Atlantic hurricane activity since the 1970s," the report reads, noting that there is medium confidence around this finding.
There is disagreement about the relative magnitude of human influences in North Atlantic hurricane activity. However, there is broad agreement that human factors have had an impact on the observed oceanic and atmospheric variability in the North Atlantic, the report stated.
The report expects there to be continued active research on the topic in the future.
There are numerous physical processes that explain the linkages between climate change and hurricanes, according to a Scientific American article written by climate experts.
Sea level rise has contributed to the coastal flooding associated with recent major hurricanes, the article explained.
"The seemingly modest 1 foot of sea level rise off the New York City and New Jersey coast made a Sandy-like storm surge of 14 feet far more likely, and led to 25 additional square miles of flooding and several billion extra dollars of damage," the article reads.
Scientists explore how climate change may affect mental health
Human-induced climate change costs US economy $240B per year, study says
Experts explain how rising carbon dioxide depletes nutrients in our food
The science is also fairly conclusive on the increasing intensity of storms, with roughly eight meters per second increase in wind speed per degree Celsius of warming, according to the article.
Warmer ocean surface means more moisture is available in the atmosphere.
Unusually warm sea-surface temperatures contributed to the flooding power of both Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Irene in 2011, according to the article.
Both the government report and article agreed that continued research is necessary in understanding the impacts of the changing climate on hurricanes.
Quiz Maker - powered by Riddle
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - June 26, 2019, 2:01:16 PM EDT
Things don't look that terrifying right now - but that all changed quickly. Keep your eye on the upper right portion of this video as all hell breaks loose.
Weather News - June 26, 2019, 12:47:55 PM EDT
A tropical depression, named Dodong in the Philippines, will bring the potential for flooding and other impacts to Japan through Friday.
Weather News - June 26, 2019, 1:28:46 PM EDT
Officials in France worry the hot spell this week could rival the deadly heat wave of 2003, which was blamed for thousands of fatalities.
While direct strikes can be fatal, different types of lightning strikes can kill, including less expected ways like a side flash or a streamer.
Weather News - June 26, 2019, 8:17:05 AM EDT
Following weeks of downpours, dry and warm weather will arrive just in time for Glastonbury 2019.
Monsoon brings long-awaited relief to some, millions still parched as rain fails to reach Delhi, northwestern India
Weather News - June 26, 2019, 9:09:59 AM EDT
The Southwest monsoon made significant progress across India in recent days; however, a change in the weather pattern means millions of people will have to wait several weeks for the monsoon to arrive.
Weather News - June 26, 2019, 9:52:11 AM EDT
After generally dry and comfortable weather graced residents in the Pacific Northwest over the past few days, a slow-moving storm system will bring about a change in the weather pattern through the rest of the week.