Ocean Warming Intensified The Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2017


According to a recent study, the three monster hurricanes that hit America in 2017 a Category 4 intensity obtained their strength due to ocean warming which surged the temperatures of the water of Atlantic Ocean last year. The report of the study was published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Also, as the scientists reported, the increase in the ocean warming, estimated to grow year after year because surging greenhouse gas emissions, will cause more and stronger hurricanes. The study projects “even higher numbers of major hurricanes.”

Taking into account the number of the hurricanes that formed over Atlantic in 2017, plus the three giant ones that hit the American coastlines, Harvey, Irma and Maria, the scientists believe that’s going to become a usual phenomenon in the future. To reach such a gloomy prediction, researchers conducted high-resolution modeling experiments.

While commonly many such hurricanes occur during La Nina phenomenon, the scientists ruled that out and found that ocean warming as the main culprit.

 Ocean warming intensified the Atlantic hurricane season of 2017

“We show the increase in the 2017 major hurricanes was not primarily caused by La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, but mainly by pronounced warm sea surface conditions in the tropical North Atlantic,” the study’s report reads.

Most of the hurricanes that form over the Atlantic and hit the US coastlines are Category 3 in intensity, according to the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. However, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, for example, the three that hit America in 2017, were Category 4 hurricanes, and the scientists believe they reached such an intensity due to ocean warming.

Hiroyuki Murakami of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the study’s leading author, explained that, because the Atlantic is warmer than the other oceans, the atmosphere becomes more unstable and hurricanes form more frequent and at higher intensities.

Murakami concluded that ocean warming, causing the Atlantic waters to have higher temperatures than other oceans worldwide, is the main culprit for intensifying the hurricane season of 2017.


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