Hurricane Harvey swamped Houston with seven days of pounding rain last August. When scientists went back to look at historical weather patterns, they reported Harvey dumped 20 percent more rain than it typically would have. The culprit: Climate change. From a report: High-resolution climate simulations of 15 tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans found that warming in the ocean and atmosphere increased rainfall by between 5% and 10%, although wind speeds remained largely unchanged. This situation is set to worsen under future anticipated warming, however. Researchers found that if little is done to constrain greenhouse gas emissions and the world warms by 3C to 4C this century then hurricane rainfall could increase by a third, while wind speeds would be boosted by as much as 25 knots. "Climate change has exacerbated rainfall and is set to enhance the wind speed," said Christina Patricola, who undertook the study with her Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory colleague Michael Wehner. "My hope is that this information can be used to improve our resilience to the kinds of extreme weather events we are going to have in the future." The research, published in the journal Nature, used climate models to see how factors such as air and ocean temperatures have influenced hurricanes. Projections into the future were then made, based upon various levels of planetary warming. The findings suggest that enormously destructive storms have already been bolstered by climate change and similar events in the future are on course to be cataclysmic.
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