Scientists have been watching a developing hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Lorenzo is unique for many reasons, mostly for its strength and location. It’s much further east than expected for this time of year. Scientists continue to study hurricanes like these outliers because of their connection to climate change.

This storm, Hurricane Lorenzo was first observed as a tropical storm on September 23. But Lorenzo was forming 650 miles further east than Hurricane Hugo, the record holding storm from 1989. The storm is so far east it’s heading for the Azores in Portugal, making scientists pay extra attention. Most storms that size, and all hurricanes evaluated since 1851, reach their highest strength in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. Not a single one has done so in this part of the Atlantic.

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The size and placement in the Atlantic is bringing up climate change, since the Atlantic ocean was previously too cold to host such a hurricane. Current data from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at NASA talks about relationships between climate change and hurricanes, that is, how changes brought on by climate change can affect hurricane sizes strength and output. These changes include warming seas, warming temperatures, and increased rainfall rates.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has shared research on climate change and hurricanes. Their research is similar to that of NASA, discussing warming seas and the frequency of hurricanes. Their research also shows that hurricanes over the past 30 years have increased in intensity. The center recommends reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the risk of hurricanes.

Scientists continue to study hurricanes and weather patterns as hurricanes become more common each year. Scientists have yet to release a consensus on climate change and hurricanes, yet climate change indicators like rising and warming seas certainly affect hurricanes length and strength.

Climate scientist Michael Lowry tweeted a picture, below, comparing Lorenzo to other hurricanes its size and strength. Alongside the picture, Lowry said in another tweet, “A Category 5 hurricane this far east this late in the season is almost unbelievable. Wow doesn’t do this justice.”

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Read more One Green Planet news on climate change, including the IPCC report. And learn how to reduce carbon emissions.

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