Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Caribbean and Florida last fall, is one example of one of the major hurricanes that has emerged in recent years. New research suggests that strength can last. Powerful tropical hurricanes are a clear trend, according to a new study.

Satellite images show the trend

Tropical hurricanes are cyclones with wind speeds exceeding 32 meters per second. This type of hurricane is created by ocean currents where the temperature is at least 27 degrees. They are formed when warm moist air rises from the sea surface.

And so these tropical hurricanes have become increasingly powerful, according to a new study from the US Weather Institute NOAA. The study is based on satellite images that have been collected for almost 40 years. 

Climate change may be the cause 

The cause is believed to be global climate change, says SMHI's climate professor Erik Kjellström.  

- The sea surface temperature increases with the global warming and then conditions become more favorable for more intense tropical cyclones, he says.  

Hurricanes result in very strong winds and large amounts of rain that can endanger the lives of people living where the hurricane is passing. Last fall, Hurricane Dorian reached wind speeds of 295 kilometers per hour and many buildings in the Caribbean were pulled into the wind. 

Hard to measure hurricanes  

However, it has been considered difficult to make this type of measurement. The satellite images do not look the same every year and are difficult to compare. Hurricanes also behave differently from season to season.    

In the new study, the researchers have therefore chosen certain images and some areas to make the substrate as coherent and uniform as possible.  

The study is a corroborating evidence of what researchers previously thought about the impact of climate change.  

- It is important to increase our understanding of the climate system and to develop information that we can test our climate models against, says Erik Kjellström, climate professor at SMHI.  

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and can be read here