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Season’s 1st tropical storm Aletta forms in eastern Pacific - NHC

09 June 2018

Aletta grew into the first hurricane of the eastern Pacific season Thursday, though forecasters said it continued to move out to sea away from the coast of Mexico and posed no threat to land.

In the last 70 years the storms have slowed by ten per cent. "And so that's never a good thing".

Global warming is also projected to increase the severity of the strongest tropical cyclones.

This isn't about how powerful a storm's winds are, just how fast it chugs along.

"These trends are nearly certainly increasing local rainfall totals and freshwater flooding", Kossin said, "which is associated with very high mortality risk". New research shows it could also cause them to move from point A to point B more slowly, which might make them even more risky. Slowdowns over land were higher in some regions (a 20 percent slowdown over land for Atlantic storms, a 30 percent slowdown over land for western North Pacific storms and a 19 percent slowdown over land for storms affecting the Australian region).

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'This suggests that global warming can enhance rainfall'. Adding last year's storms would have made the slowdown a bit more prominent, he said.

"The slower a storm goes, the more rain it's going to dump in any particular area", Kossin told the Associated Press. Local tropical cyclone rainfall totals would be expected to increase by the same percentage due to the slowing alone.

"Long-duration or slower-moving storms, even when weaker, can have exacerbated impacts through prolonged wind exposure [in addition to] flooding", according to Colin Zarzycki, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research who was not involved with the study.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said "I just need more convincing that there actually has been a 10% motion change".

As storms move slower, they can unload more heavy rain and pound coastal areas longer, increasing damage potential.

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"What we're seeing nearly certainly reflects both natural and human-caused changes", Kossin said.

"My study is pretty far from an attribution study", he said. Indeed, after around 1980, we could observe them by geostationary satellite - before that, storms in the open ocean might have been missed completely and gone unrecorded, at least if they never encountered any vessel.

To understand the relationship between climate change and hurricane speeds, Kossin analyzed the paths of 7,585 tropical cyclones from 1949 to 2016. That may mean bad news for people residing in their path.

'These trends are nearly certainly increasing local rainfall totals and freshwater flooding, which is associated with very high mortality risk'. "There's been a sea change there in terms of what's unsafe".

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Season’s 1st tropical storm Aletta forms in eastern Pacific - NHC