“It would be Agnes on steroids.” | Hurricane Agnes: 50 Years Later

As climate change continues to warm our ocean waters, scientists are concerned about future tropical activity should a storm take a path similar to Agnes’.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — If we recall the devastation caused by Agnes 50 years ago, we only need to go back ten years, or even a year, when it comes to major damage caused by tropical activity in our area.

From Lee in 2011 to Fred, Ida and Isaias in the last two years, Pennsylvania continues to see increased tropical activity.

“Storms that used to be called 100-year return period storms, we are now seeing 10-year return period storms,” ​​said Dr. James Kinter, III. dr Kinter is a climatologist and director of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies at George Mason University.

“So they’ve gotten ten times more common. That means we’re seeing flash flood events much more frequently,” Kinter said.

The main energy source of tropical cyclones is the temperature of the ocean. Think of a tropical storm as a heat pump that transfers heat from one reservoir to another. The greater the difference, the greater the energy for the pump.

The greater the difference between sea temperature and the cooler air in the troposphere, the stronger the storm.

And it’s a phenomenon we’re already seeing.

“We’re seeing a shift…in the intensity of tropical cyclones toward higher intensity storms,” ​​said Dr. kids

Scientists say they’re also seeing a shift in tropical storm trajectories. Think of the path of Ida, Isaias and Fred. These systems were able to survive a little longer inland and maintain intensity.

“What we’re seeing is evidence of a changing climate,” Kelton Halbert said. Halbert is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. His specialty is severe thunderstorms, supercells and tornadoes. New data in its fields mixes with tropical activity.

A reanalysis of data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) found that the number of days with enough energy in the atmosphere for thunderstorms to develop has increased by forty days in our region since 1979. This simply means that we are more often warmer with more moisture. However, we regularly have more energy in the atmosphere as a result.

“You will see more sustainable development as tropical storms make landfall,” Halbert said. “You will see effects further inland because they take longer to weaken.”

And with more energy in the atmosphere, what would that mean for the next storm like Agnes?

“The possibility that a storm could take a similar path across the Chesapeake Bay is very alarming,” said Dr. kids “If a storm would do that, it would be Agnes on steroids.”

Download the FOX43 app here. “It would be Agnes on steroids.” | Hurricane Agnes: 50 Years Later

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