Exploding in intensity, Hurricane Michael went from a tropical storm into a category 4 storm with 155 winds, and once it hit land, it became the third strongest to ever hit the United States and the most powerful to cause disaster in the Panhandle of Florida. Hurricane Michael is not the only record-breaker in 2018, and it is also the fourth warmest year when it comes to global warming, according to the NOAA. In the UK the Environmental Audit Committee warned that by 2040 summer temperatures will reach 38C potentially causing a yearly total of up to 7,000 heat-related deaths.
Earth’s Temperatures Increasing by Twice the Rate
According to National Geographic, the earth’s temperature is rising at twice the rate when compared to 50 years ago. This rapid pattern and rate of warming cannot be explained by natural cyclones only scientist say. It is the effect of greenhouse gases caused and ignored by humans.
Warm Ocean Waters of Gulf of Mexico
Hurricane Michael’s rapid intensification was fueled by both weather factors as well as the warm ocean water in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes fuel via water of around 80 degrees and the water was 4 to 5 degrees warmer than normal in the eastern Gulf. What certainly played a role is the warmer water that is humanly fingerprinted according to the Atmospheric and National Oceanic Administration, according to Jim Kossin a hurricane and climate expert.
Rapid Intensifications Will Be More Common in Future
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kerry Emanuel says that the incidences of storms will intensify rapidly and continue to substantially increase by the end of the century. Michael Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, shared with ThinkProgress, that the ocean is undergoing rapid intensification, the ocean waters are unusually warm, it’s a pattern also identified a year ago with Florence, Harvey and now one of the strongest hurricane Michael.
Much Higher Temperatures
Ryan Maue, WeatherUS agrees and confirms that there is no doubt whatsoever that the warmer ocean waters encountered hurricane Michael, the waters were quite a bit warmer when compared to temperatures over the past three decades. By analyzing the water temperatures in early October, Maue found that when he compared the data from the period 1985 up to 2005 to the recorded data of the period 2006 up to 2018, the average rose in temperature was almost 1 degree. He feels more detailed analysis is required to completely understand what did happen across the Gulf of Mexico during the past twelve years.
Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, says, regardless the cause, Hurricane Michael saw everyone’s worst fears realised, its rapid intensification before landfall has never been experienced. Two measures are used to determine whether hurricanes are getting worse, the one is the strengths of the storms, the other the number of storms and both indicates that there has been a rapid increase since the start of the 20th century.