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Aletta becomes first hurricane of eastern Pacific season

08 June 2018

Christina Patricola, a scientist with the climate and ecosystem sciences division of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, called Kossin's work "important and new" and says she found it "pretty convincing".

With wind speeds that can top more than 180 miles per hour, hurricanes are not usually thought of as slow.

Kossin argues that the slow-down is caused by global warming, which is both increasing rainfall and decreasing wind currents. The fact that their results show quite similar trends should be a wake-up call.

"Nothing good can come of a slower storm", Kossin told Mashable.

Therefore, it would make sense that if the flow around the hurricanes and typhoons is moving slowly, the storms will also be moving slower, which Kossin believes is what he is observing in the data.

The center said the storm was likely to strengthen some more as it moved farther out into the Pacific, but predicted Aletta would begin weakening Saturday.

At the same time, related research published just last month suggests that warming temperatures from climate change will slow storms more in the future. "I just need more convincing that there actually has been a 10 percent motion change". But here was a 10 percent slowdown in storm movement speed with only a half- degree Celsius (.9 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming globally over the period he studied. Adding last year's storms would have made the slowdown a bit more prominent, he said.

Experts believe that continued global warming will increase the severity of tropical storms, but they also believe this anthropogenic warming will increase rainfall.

"The slower a storm goes, the more rain it's going to dump in any particular area", said study author James Kossin, a government climate scientist. "This is the first, to my knowledge, study that's tried to look at the historical record to try to quantify whether that's the case".

He said beyond the changes in regularity and intensity of cyclones, their very "behaviour" was being affected by climate change.

But Kossin, in his paper, writes that he wouldn't expect big changes in his results due to different means of measurement, since "estimates of tropical-cyclone position should be comparatively insensitive to such changes".

Hurricanes are slowing down - and leaving behind a lot more damage when they make landfall, according to a new study.

"Inland flooding, freshwater flooding, is taking over as the key mortality risk now associated with these storms", Kossin said.

Aletta becomes first hurricane of eastern Pacific season