Climate Change Impacts Hurricane Strength, Says NASA Scientist

May 30, 2018

2017's hurricane Irma.
Credit NOAA

Climate change could impact the strength of hurricanes in the Atlantic. That’s according to Senior NASA Scientist, Timothy Hall. 

Hall says warming ocean waters may not increase the frequency of hurricanes, but the number of intense hurricanes like 2017’s Irma and Harvey could go up.

“We used to say in this business about a decade ago when people asked, ‘does climate change and the warming climate, did it have some role in some particular intense event?’ And we used to say, ‘well you can never attribute any particular event to warming, you have to look at long term trends.’ Now, we just say ‘Yes!’ Because, we now have the tools to really be hard-nosed and estimate the fraction of this extreme event that is due to climate change.”

Hall and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say 2018 is shaping up to be an average to above average hurricane season. But Hall adds, even average hurricane seasons can bring devastating weather to coastal regions.