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Water-Related News

Climate change giving extra fuel to storms during hurricane season

The Weather Authority’s meteorologists explain how climate change is already impacting our severe weather.

The last eight years were the hottest on record. While heat is often the first thing that comes to mind with climate change (or, popularly, “global warming”), that same heat is also causing our oceans to rise as water expands and Earth’s ice begins to melt. It’s a process called sea level rise, and it will play a direct role in tropical forecasting for years to come.

“We’re trying to communicate to not just be dismissive of a tropical storm or hurricane as having a minor impact, because you can still have storm surge that floods homes and businesses,” said Jon Rizzo, the warnings coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Key West.

Rizz warns that just as you should never judge a book by its cover, the same rule should be applied to the tropics. Sea level rise is slowly increasing the impacts of even the weakest tropical storms and hurricanes.

“The biggest message is that little things sometimes mean a lot now. Tropical storms which were dismissed as windy days and rough water, open water, well, now they can have a storm surge, too; the water might be a foot or two higher… than it was a decade or two ago.”