Why are Big Storms Bringing So Much More Rain? Warming, Yes, but also Winds

Oct. 30, 2019

For three hurricane seasons in a row, storms with record-breaking rainfall have caused catastrophic flooding in the southern United States: Harvey in 2017, Florence in 2018 and Imelda in 2019. A new analysis by Princeton researchers explains why this trend is likely to continue with global warming. Both the higher moisture content of warmer air and storms’ increasing wind speeds conspire to produce wetter storms, the researchers reported in a study published Oct. 18 in the Nature Partner Journal Climate and Atmospheric ScienceThe authors include Maofeng Liu (CEE), CIMES Director Gabe Vecchi, professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute, James Smith (CEE), and GFDL Research Meteorologist Tom Knutson.

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