Experts Say Ida’s Heavy Rains Are An Omen for Future Storms


The effects of Hurricane Ida will be felt far from where it made landfall in southern Louisiana on Sunday. As it moves through the Upper Ohio Valley and into the Northeast later in the week, it’s likely to cause heavy downpours, including up to 10 inches of rain, in parts of the Mid-Atlantic. more than that 80 million Americans were under a flood watch or counseling, the majority of which is associated with heavy rains on Ida.

Although scientists are not entirely sure yet How does climate change affect every feature of tropical cyclones?There is broad consensus that a warming climate will bring more extreme and heavy rainfall during storms. Warming increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which can produce more rain.

“When tropical storms move over land, we tend to think they run out of fuel,” said Rosimar Ríos-Barríos, a research meteorologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. But the winds in a tropical storm can extend thousands of miles from its center. In this case, Dr. Ríos-Barrios said that even as Ida moves inland, it will continue to pull very hot, humid air over the Gulf of Mexico and wrap it around its hurricane. This weather can contribute to worsening precipitation.

“We’re seeing this increase in extreme precipitation for all kinds of events,” said Suzana Camargo, a climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. “With hurricanes, we would expect heavier rains. That’s what happened to Ida.”

The amount of precipitation associated with a tropical cyclone is related to how heavily and for how long it rains, which in turn depends on the speed of the cyclone. Rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, the wettest tropical cyclone on record, dropped more than 60 inches over eastern Texas in 2017. The heavy rain and subsequent flooding were partly due to the hurricane’s stopping near the coastline.

Dr. Ida continues to move at around 10 to 15 miles per hour, “at an expected pace,” Ríos-Barríos said. The primary air system in the United States moves in a general V shape. Winds from the western United States move south toward the Gulf of Mexico, then turn toward the north Atlantic. But other weather systems can bring currents in opposite directions by changing a storm’s direction or changing its speed.

As a tropical cyclone moves inland, its path is guided by a contrast in temperature. Dr. That could be one reason why central Pennsylvania and West Virginia are expected to see extreme rainfall of up to 10 inches in some places, Ríos-Barríos said. There, the cyclone can develop a warm front that will lift the air, create clouds and produce more precipitation.

Many of these areas in the storm’s path have already received extraordinary rains this summer, making some rivers higher and soils more saturated, increasing the risk of flooding. middle Tennessee Valley, flash flooding earlier this month Rain, which killed at least 20 people on Tuesday and Wednesday, could see as much as four inches.

Whether climate change makes Ida and the extent of its floods more likely, and if so, how much, will not be known until scientists conduct an association study, a type of research that measures the links between climate change and certain extreme weather. Events.

But scientists agree that Ida is a harbinger of future hurricanes. Dr. “If our planet continues to warm at the alarming rate it is warming, then Ida is an example we can expect to see in the future,” said Ríos-Barríos. “This is so scary.”


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