Publication Date November 12, 2019 | BBC News

Warming makes bigger hurricanes more damaging

United States

The biggest and most damaging hurricanes are now three times more frequent than they were 100 years ago, say researchers.

Using a new method of calculating the destruction, the scientists say the increase in frequency is "unequivocal".

Previous attempts to isolate the impact of climate change on hurricanes have often came up with conflicting results.

But the new study says the increase in damage caused by these big cyclones is linked by global warming.


Instead of looking at economic damage, the authors looked at the amount of land that was totally destroyed by more than 240 storms between 1900 and 2018, based on insurance industry databases.

As an example, the researchers examined Hurricane Irma that hit Florida in 2017.

Around 1.1 million people were living inside the 10,000 sq km closest to the storm's landfall.


The authors found that the frequency of the most damaging hurricanes had increased by a rate of 330% per century.

And they believe that is mainly due to rising temperatures.

"Our data reveal an emergent positive trend in damage which we attribute to a detectable change in extreme storms due to global warming," they write.


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