A shocking feature of Hurricane Ida, which destroyed Louisiana on Sunday, was how quickly it evolved from a level 1 state to a level 4 state in the Gulf of Mexico when it made landfall. The continuous wind speed of the storm accelerated from 85 miles per hour on Saturday to 150 miles per hour when galloping on the shore the next day. The escalation of power is so rapid and extreme that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Describe Ada As a rapidly increasing storm.
NHC forecasters currently rely on a standard to classify such storms: when their sustained wind speed increases At least 30 knots (Approximately 35 mph) in 24 hours. In the past, if the center pressure of a tropical storm dropped by at least 42 millibars (about 0.61 pounds per square inch, or psi) within 24 hours, the term “rapid deepening” has been applied to the tropical storm.It’s worth noting that Ada’s pressure Drop 56 mbar (about 0.81 psi) in 24 hours, Making it a bit like a “super fast-enhancing storm,” atmospheric scientists said Jennifer Francis Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth and Ida, Massachusetts Experienced a drop in pressure further north Sam Lillo, a meteorological researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said on Twitter on Sunday that this is any other storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
Francis has extensive experience in studying the rapid changes in the Arctic climate system-research involving topics such as the impact of the atmosphere on sea ice and the transfer of low-latitude heat and water caused by climate change. This work led her to investigate their impact on weather patterns further south, including extreme weather events such as winter storms and hurricanes.
Scientific american Ask Francis to explain what caused Ada’s power to explode.
[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]
What factors will cause the storm to intensify rapidly?
First, it needs to store large amounts of energy in the ocean in the form of extra warm water from deep layers. If the layer is shallow, it will not have enough energy to promote rapid intensification. So the storm will quickly deplete it and will not intensify, especially fast. The second demand is water vapor, which has been increasing in the past few decades due to the warming of the atmosphere and oceans. Warm water evaporates more steam into the air, while warm air can hold more steam. Since the mid-1990s, we have seen an average increase of about 4% in the total amount of water vapor in the global atmosphere. Water vapor actually contains the fuel that the storm uses to strengthen itself. When water vapor (a gas you can’t see) condenses into clouds like in a storm, it releases a lot of heat. This increases the upward movement in the atmosphere, leading to large thunderstorms such as tropical storms. Wind shear tends to tear the updraft of hot air due to condensation of water vapor. When they are tilted or torn apart, large thunderstorms will not form, and these thunderstorms will promote the development of tropical storms.
Meteorologists say the vortex in the Gulf of Mexico played a role in Ada’s rapid increase.
In the Gulf of Mexico, where both Hurricane Katrina and Ida experienced rapid intensification, there is a group of very warm deep waters associated with ocean currents from the Caribbean Sea called the circulation. You can think of it as a river in the ocean that flows from the warm Caribbean Sea into the Gulf of Mexico, then flows east to southern Florida, and then flows up to the east coast, where it is called the Gulf Stream. Sometimes the circulation forms a northward bend in the Gulf of Mexico, forming a vortex or a deep pool of extra warmth. This is not an unusual event, but when it does happen, and a tropical storm appears and passes through it, it’s like drinking an energy drink for the storm. Energy poured into the storm from that very warm pool. This is the case with Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ida.
Are rapidly increasing storms becoming more common with climate change?
Yes, this is one of the clearest signs of how climate change affects tropical storms. We are warming the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, and we are warming the oceans. Because of these two factors, there is now more water in the atmosphere because it can evaporate more easily from the ocean into a warm atmosphere that can accept more water vapor. All of this has provided fuel for the need to strengthen the tropical storm.
Can you elaborate on the role of climate change in increasing the number of rapidly increasing storms?
this The ocean absorbs approximately 90% of the heat, which is captured by the additional greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere. In other words, it itself provides most of the ingredients required for rapid intensification-as long as it has warm sea water, it is like a pressurized battery for storms caused by man-made climate change. But in addition, when we do encounter rapidly intensifying storms and very strong storms, as we saw in Aida, stronger winds will also be generated, and therefore greater wind damage will be caused, as we must see As it was. Larger storm surges, of course, are above higher sea levels and are another direct impact of climate change. Those waves created by strong winds also ride on higher storm surges and sea level rise. Climate change makes all these factors worse. The increase in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is leading to more frequent and heavier downpours-whether tropical storms, thunderstorms or northeasterly winds, the frequency of heavy precipitation events is increasing.
Can forecasters judge whether the storm will intensify rapidly?
Satellites can only measure the surface ocean temperature. They cannot tell us how deep that layer of warm water is. This is indeed one of the biggest obstacles at the moment: we just don’t have data that is generally available in most ocean areas. We just don’t know how deep this layer is in most places. The focus of some current research is to figure out how to better understand how much energy is contained in the upper 500 feet of the ocean, because there is indeed a place to store energy and provide it to the storm.
Methods of obtaining this data include autonomous ocean gliders swimming under the sea surface, measuring temperature, salinity and other characteristics. Satellites that can measure the height of the sea may be helpful because warmer bodies of water will take up more space. Therefore, when you have a lot of warm water somewhere, usually you will see a bump on the sea surface that can be detected from space.
What measures can be taken to mitigate and respond to the rapidly increasing tropical storm?
For more than 50 years, we humans have used the atmosphere as a trash can. We have been venting all these exhaust gases (mainly from burning fossil fuels) into the atmosphere. For a long time, we have known that these gases will absorb a large amount of heat that enters the ocean, thereby contributing to these storms and warming the atmosphere. It can be said that this is indeed a potential disease that we need to treat. The solution to this problem is to stop discharging these endothermic gases. From national governments to companies and individuals, all levels of society can play a role in this regard. We know that solar, wind and other renewable energy sources can completely replace our electricity. We just need to process it faster.
What can an individual do?
We can make many choices in our own lives, in our own communities, and at the state level, such as incentives to support the purchase of more efficient cars, purchase of more efficient appliances, or better segregation of your home. We must go all out.
We must also be prepared.How will our actions now affect [future] Warming occurs. We will see more extremes; we will see more rapidly intensifying storms; we will see more heat waves and more fires. So we need to prepare for these.
When the house is flooded for the third time in ten years, does it make sense to spend taxes to help that person rebuild the house in the same location? It is not. And you know, people don’t realize that a lot of our taxes are used for such things. We heard that “Oh, emergency funds will help people rebuild on this low island near South Carolina.” People should be angry. I don’t think they have connected the money they contributed to the use of some places where we really shouldn’t rebuild the infrastructure.