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Yes, climate change does have an impact on hurricanes | VERIFY

While climate change doesn't cause storms, it does make them worse. A recent study shows climate change contributed to 10% of Hurricane Ian's water.

ORLANDO, Fla. — We’ve seen the impacts of Hurricane Ian from Florida to the Southeast, bringing storm surge, flooding rains, wind damage, and more. Since then, we received a question from a viewer as to climate change’s influence on storms such as Hurricane Ian.

So, let’s verify. 

THE QUESTION

Does climate change have an impact on hurricanes?

THE SOURCE

Our expert is Dr. Daniel Gilford, a climate scientist at Climate Central. 

THE ANSWER

We can verify that there is a link between human-induced climate change and more intense and wetter hurricanes.

WHAT WE FOUND

Dr. Gilford explains that increased greenhouse gasses from humans creates more heat in the atmosphere and, in turn, warmer oceans.

“Increasing sea surface temperatures, especially in the Atlantic Ocean, but also across the world, mean there’s more fuel source available for the hurricanes to draw upon," he says.

More fuel has multiple consequences, such as an increased rate of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes as well as slower and wetter storms.

“That sort of slow down in hurricane speeds as they move across land especially means more dramatic rainfall. Because if a hurricane sits over you for a longer period of time, you get things like what happened in my yard, where I had over 11 inches of rain," Gilford told FOX43. "That is consistent with what we expect under climate change, these slower storms.”

Credit: Climate Central

In fact, a rapid attribution study just confirmed this with Hurricane Ian.

“A colleague of mine, Kevin Reed out of Stony Brook, showed that with Hurricane Ian we expect that climate change contributed an additional 10% more water to the storm," Gilford said. "So we actually have a clear link between Hurricane Ian and climate change already that we have studied.” 

Dr. Gilford acknowledges that Florida has seen major hurricanes in the past, some of which had stronger winds. Climate change on it's own cannot be tied to individual storms. However, the trend in regards to more impactful storms is clear.

“We are now more exposed as a population by living in these vulnerable areas and these storms have gotten worse and their impacts are more damaging on our communities as a result of the increased risks of vulnerability and physical changes in our climate system. These hurricanes are worse because of climate change,” Gilford explained.

So yes, we can verify that there is a link between human-induced climate change and more intense and wetter hurricanes.

You can watch our full interview with Dr. Gilford here:

Download the FOX43 app here.

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