ALERT: Northeastern US Coast to Experience More Frequent, Powerful Hurricanes in the Future
A new study revealed that increasing carbon dioxide emissions could increase the risk of more frequent and more powerful hurricanes to strike at the northeastern coast of the United States.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the expansion of atmospheric circulation belts driven by the increasing carbon dioxide emissions is shifting the weather pattern. These changes in the weather pattern are causing the hurricane track to move northwards from western Caribbean towards the northern North America over the past few hundred years.
"Our research shows that the hurricane risk to the Northeastern coast of the United States is increasing as hurricanes track further north," explained lead author Dr Lisa Baldini, of Durham University's Department of Geology, in a press release. "Since the 19th Century this shift was largely driven by man-made emissions and if these emissions continue as expected this will result in more frequent and powerful storms affecting the financial and population centers of the Northeastern United States."
For the study, the researchers analyzed the chemical composition of a stalagmite collected from a cave in southern Belize, Central America to reconstruct hurricane rainfall for the western Caribbean from 450 years ago.
The researchers found that the average number of hurricanes that struck the Belize area have decrease over time, while documentary hurricane records from Bermuda and Florida reported increase in hurricane occurrence. This suggests that hurricanes were not disappearing at the Belize site, but begun moving to the north. The researchers also found that the industrial boom in the 19th century, which is linked to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, coincides with the decrease hurricane activity in the western Caribbean.
With their findings, the researchers conclude that the increase in the carbon dioxide emissions have become the main driver behind the migration of hurricane tracks by altering the weather systems. As the increasing trend of carbon dioxide emission continue to waltz upward, the researchers warn that the hurricane tracks could shift even further northward, increasing the risk of powerful hurricanes in the northeastern US.