Global warm­ing sus­pected of ‘su­per­charg­ing’ Michael to a mon­ster

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - USA TO­DAY

Hur­ri­cane Michael ex­ploded in in­ten­sity this week, from a rather non­de­script trop­i­cal de­pres­sion Sun­day with winds of 35 mph to a Cat­e­gory 4 mon­ster Wednesday with 155 mph winds.

Along with other weather fac­tors, Michael’s in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion was fu­eled in part by un­usu­ally warm wa­ter in the Gulf of Mex­ico. Wa­ter of at least 80 de­grees fu­els hur­ri­canes, and the wa­ter in the eastern Gulf this week was as much as 4 to 5 de­grees warmer than nor­mal.

Al­though ran­dom weather pat­terns cer­tainly played a role, the warm wa­ters in the Gulf have a “hu­man fin­ger­print” of cli­mate change, ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion cli­mate and hur­ri­cane ex­pert Jim Kossin.

Weather.us me­te­o­rol­o­gist Ryan Maue said “there’s no doubt the ocean wa­ter en­coun­tered by Michael was quite warm com­pared to the last three decades, es­pe­cially near the coast.”

Sev­eral stud­ies say hur­ri­canes in­ten­sify more rapidly than in prior years.

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