"Hurricane Dorian" by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-East / Public Domain

How Has Climate Change Affected Hurricane Dorian?

Sep 5, 2019

By John Schwartz

The links between hurricanes and climate change are complex, but some aspects are getting clearer.

Tropical storms draw their energy from ocean heat — and more than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions is being stored in the ocean. Storms that survive the cradle of formation can intensify quickly and become immensely powerful.

While it’s common to hear the question, “Was it caused by climate change?” scientists argue that this is an unhelpful way to look at the issue. As Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, put it recently on Twitter, “that’s the wrong question. The right one is, ‘how much worse did climate change make it?’”

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