Many already know that tropical storms like hurricanes and cyclones are becoming more common and more powerful as our world begins to warm. Yet, many don’t realize that these storms will now reach new locations that were typically too cold in the past.
New York, Boston, and even Tokyo are now in the target zone for tropical storms, and it could cost billions of dollars as the structures were not built with hurricanes in mind. Thus, not only will it cost money, but lives are at stake.
This is all according to a new study published by Nature Geoscience.
When Will Tropical Storms Enter New Areas?
Well, it’s already begun, at least on a small scale.
Most might not be aware of this, but in September 2020, Subtropical Storm Alpha made landfall in Portugal. While the damage was minor, it was the first time this kind of weather ever formed in the area.
The warming climate is changing what kind of weather regions are beginning to see. The report highlights that major hurricanes and cyclones will be able to reach more populated areas by the end of the century.
Rising Sea-Levels Will Make This Worse
When many people think about hurricanes, they always focus on the destructive impact of the wind, but a far greater threat to the structures and people in those areas is the storm surge. Rising sea levels and storm surges are a deadly combo.
For reference, a category 5 hurricane can have a storm surge of 40 feet by the center. This is why even smaller hurricanes often have intense flooding like what happened with Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Ultimately, this could result in the displacement of over 400 million people that currently line in coastal regions that are less than 2 meters above sea level.
Why Is This Happening?
Weather, or meteorology, is very complex, which is why the weather report is not always correct.
In this circumstance, as the global temperature increases, the gap between the temperature at the equator and polar regions begins to shrink. As a direct result, the jet streams that impact weather patterns will change.
In a normal situation, the jet streams prevent storms from forming in regions that are farther from the equator, but that is changing. As the jetstreams grow weaker or disappear, nothing prevents these tropical storms from forming in other locations.
Not to mention that the higher temperature make these storms more common, to begin with.
The good news is that the report says that there is still time for this to change. If carbon emissions can be curbed, the jetstreams will be protected. However, emissions have failed to go down despite intense pressure on corporations and governments.
Thus, it’s hard to say if we can avoid this future.
Our future weather is directly linked to how successful the fight against climate change is.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.