While the storm of war is possibly brewing in one part of the world, there is another kind of storm to think about. There have been more lovingly-named hurricanes in the Atlantic in recent months than ever before. Hurricane Harvey was followed close in the heels by Irma, which built up to become the strongest recorded Atlantic hurricane. Hurricane Maria affected the Caribbean and possibly affected power in Puerto Rico for months to come. Tens of thousands of people have had their homes flooded and their lives dashed to pieces through torrential rains more intense than storms of the past.

The question is, does global warming have anything to do with this increase in the frequency or intensity of storms?

Can Climate Change Cause Hurricanes?

Where Do Hurricanes Strike?
Where Do Hurricanes Strike?

Scientists say that hurricanes cannot be caused by global warming. But human activities definitely contribute towards the intensity of a rainfall. In other words, global warming can increase the rainfall that comes out of a storm – by as much as 30 percent, according to experts.

It’s not an easy conclusion to arrive at. Climate scientists aren’t very eager to connect weather change with a single weather event. But there are certain features of tropical cyclones and hurricanes like Harvey today that are off-kilter in comparison to hurricanes of the past. These elements could be linked to global warming.

How Climate Change Could Affect Hurricanes

The link between climate change and hurricanes may not be self-evident. Global warming is the result of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide being released in the atmosphere. These gases trap more heat from the sun, which in turn raises temperatures and affects ecosystems around the world.

Climate Change: Vital Signs Of The Planet
Climate Change: Vital Signs Of The Planet

This heating up of the earth also speeds up the process of evaporation. Clouds contain more water vapor and therefore storms have more water to collect in their ways and dump as compared to a few decades ago.

Another connection between climate change and hurricanes is the fact that the ocean absorbs some of the heat from the air. This raises the temperature of the upper layers of the sea. The movement of water speeds up. Natural tropical storms can be drawn to the warmer parts of the sea and they can feed off this warmth to grow into intense, longer-lasting storms with heavy rainfall.

Why this Hurricane Season Is So Active

The temperatures of the sea and the air created just the right conditions for the storm. There is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, which is called the Main Development Region and is particularly popular with hurricanes.

It’s not easy to collect data on a hurricane, since they are so rare. Having said that, past research has shown that cyclones with average intensity are more likely to get more intense in warm weather. Scientists also say that in the future, high intensity cyclones are likely to become the norm.

These types of storms make up a very small percentage of them, as the majority are small category 1 or 2 hurricanes.

The Earth Is Getting Hotter
The Earth Is Getting Hotter

Put An End To Global Warming

Cyclones and hurricanes cause large-scale damage. The global climate community is calling for responsible actions to put a stop to climate change. Hurricane Harvey may have happened anyway, but it would have been a toned-down version of the storm that hit Houston and tore up draining systems.

In a nutshell, if the thought of hurricanes tearing through your favorite burger joint is unpleasant, you should sell your car and join a carpool.