What makes Idalia so powerful? They feed on super-warm water which acts as rocket fuel


feeding on some of the hottest waters on the planet, Hurricane Adalia Scientists said the hurricane is expected to intensify rapidly as it approaches Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast. A lot has happened lately.

“It’s 88, 89 degrees (31, 32 degrees Celsius) above this place storm “There will be tracking, and that’s the effective rocket fuel for the storm,” said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. “It’s basically all systems moving toward storm intensification.”

The waters are “absurdly warm, and seeing those values ​​across the entire Northeast Gulf is surreal,” said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

Tornadoes They get their energy from warm water. Idalia serves an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“What makes this very difficult and dangerous is that Idalia is moving very quickly and intensifying very quickly, and some people may be preparing for what looked like a weaker storm the day before rather than what they’re going to have,” the National Weather Service director said. Ken Graham.

“Idalia has a chance to set a record for the rate of intensification because it’s over very warm water,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of hurricanes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On Tuesday, he said, weather conditions in only a few places on Earth — mostly warm waters — were ripe for the storm’s sudden force.

“Right now, I’m pretty sure Idalia ramped up quickly,” said Emmanuel.

At the time Emanuel said the winds in Idalia were 80 miles an hour. After a few hours the speed reached 90 mph, and by 5 p.m. Idalia was a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph, having gained 30 mph in 15 hours. A storm officially intensifies quickly when winds reach 35 mph in a 24-hour period.

Scientists have been talking all summer about how to record this Hot oceans are on the surfaceespecially in the Atlantic Ocean and near Florida, and how deep the water – which is measured by what is called the ocean heat content – setting records Also due to human-caused climate change. A discussion of the National Hurricane Center’s forecast specifically cited ocean heat content in the prediction that Idalia will likely hit 125-mile-per-hour winds before making landfall Wednesday morning.

“The rapid intensification of Idalia is definitely fueling this warmth that we know is there,” said Christine Corposiero, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Albany.

This warm water is from a mixture of Human-caused climate changeCorbusiero and other scientists said natural El Niño and other random weather events.

And this is more than that. The Idalia is stopped at times over the Loop Current and swirls from that current. These are pools of extra warm, deep water flowing from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, Corbusiero said.

Deep water is important because hurricane development often stops when the storm hits cold water. It works like cold water on a pile of hot coal to power a steam engine, Emanuel said. Often, the storms themselves pull the brakes as they pump cold water from the depths dampening their power.

Not idalia. Not only are the deeper waters warmer than they have been, Emanuel said, but Idalia will head into an area off Florida’s west coast where the waters are not deep enough to cool off. Also, because this is the first storm of the season to pass through the area, Klotzbach said, no other hurricane has brought cold water to Idalia.

Another fact that can slow down consolidation is crosswinds in the upper plane, which is called shear. But hurricane experts said Idalia moved into an area with little shear or anything else to slow it down.

A hurricane growing stronger as it approaches the coast should sound familiar. Six hurricanes in 2021 – Delta, Gamma, Sally, Laura, Hannah, and Teddy – it ramped up quickly. Hurricanes Ian, Ida, Harvey and Michael did just that before they hit the United States in the past five years, Klotzbach said. There have been many.

A study published last week found that storms approaching coasts, 240 miles (400 kilometers) away, all over the world are now increasing in strength three times faster than they were 40 years ago. It used to be about five times a year, and now it happens 15 times a year, according to A Study published in Nature Communications.

“The trend is very clear. We were very shocked when we saw this result,” said study co-author Shuai Wang, professor of climatology at the University of Delaware.

Scientists such as Wang and Corpocero said that when it comes to a single storm like Adalia, it’s hard to blame climate change for its rapid intensification. But when scientists look at the big picture over many years and many storms, other studies have shown a The relationship of global warming to rapid intensification.

In his study, Wang saw that the natural climate cycle associated with storm activity and warmer sea surface temperatures are rapidly intensifying factors. When he used computer simulations to extract warm water as a factor, he said, the boost disappeared at the last moment.

“Maybe we should be a little careful” in blaming climate change on individual storms, “but I think Hurricane Idalia illustrates the scenario we might see in the future,” Wang said.


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