“What that means is not only is climate change impacting our hurricane season, but it’s also impacting the most extreme storms a little bit more,” Kevin Reed, a climate and hurricane scientist at Stony Brook University and lead author of the study, told CNN. “So the key takeaway is that climate change is here, and that it’s already affecting our hurricane seasons.”
Allison Wing, a climate researcher at Florida State University, told CNN the study aligns with what scientists have predicted.
“This study, consistent with expert assessment, implies that hurricane rainfall will continue to increase with future warming,” Wing told CNN. “Overall, this study adds to our expectation that in a warmer world, we are more at risk from stronger, wetter storms.”
And as climate change accelerates, Reed said he expects the strongest storms to have an even higher rainfall rates.
“What’s important to know is that if Hurricane Katrina existed in 2022, if that happened in this upcoming season, the rainfall from that storm would be more than it was in 2005,” Reed said. “All of these historical records that we’ve understood in the past; when New York is planning to make sure that the impacts of Hurricane Sandy don’t happen the same way they did in 2012, we have to plan for what Hurricane Sandy would look like in 2030, or 2040.”
Unless the world changes course and drastically cuts the use of fossil fuels, Reed said people should expect progressively worse effects from hurricane season.
“Climate change is not just a problem 70 years from now; climate change is here and it’s impacting our weather on a day-to-day basis,” Reed said. “We need to adapt and make our systems more resilient, but we have to use this as a sense to inform decision-making about how to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels that produce these greenhouse gases.”