Hurricanes will continue to bring record-breaking rainfall

December 3, 2019

According to a recent study from the National Science Foundation and Princeton University, big storms like hurricanes are expected produce more record-breaking rainfall in coming years.

The research found that the air will retrain more moisture as the climate warms, creating storms with higher wind speeds and more precipitation. In the last three years, hurricanes Harvey, Florence and Imelda have each broken rainfall records.

"Using state-of-the-art modeling techniques, this team examined how and why future rainfall rates of tropical cyclones are changing," said Anjuli Bamzai, director of NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, in a statement. "This is a topic with enormous societal impacts."

Scientists believe that higher sea surface temperatures and stronger storm winds due to increased global temperature will result in hurricane rainfall rates increasing twice as quickly as previously expected.

As rainfall rates increase, areas prone to flooding will be at even greater risk.

"This study is an important step in understanding the rainfall rate piece of the problem; the picture is one in which changes in rainfall extremes should be carefully examined in assessing flood hazards," said co-author James Smith of Princeton in a press release.

The research was published in Climate and Atmospheric Science.

Hurricanes will continue to bring record-breaking rainfall