(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of Arizona have shown that tropical cyclones are massive heat pumps that amplify extreme heat episodes.
The research team analyzed 53 tropical cyclones in the eastern Caribbean between 1991 and 2020 and 205 hurricane passages over 14 cities in the region.
Heat index values were calculated using North Atlantic tropical cyclone track data from the IBTrACS (Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
It turned out that the values of the city’s heat index were always about five degrees Celsius above the average after the hurricane.
The anomalous temperature values did not depend on the intensity of the hurricane, and the increase itself could occur several days after the passage of the cyclone in areas hundreds of kilometers away from the center of the storm.
The fact that the risk of another extreme weather event increases after one natural disaster poses an unprecedented challenge to disaster relief efforts, according to the paper’s authors.
Tropical cyclones are well known to cause long-term damage through strong winds, storm surges, heavy rainfall or flooding.
The heat itself is also a public health threat. However, extreme air temperatures after tropical cyclones have not been the focus of scientists’ attention so far.
Although the article does not consider how climate change might affect this phenomenon, the authors expect that the high values of the heat index following tropical cyclones will only increase in the future.
According to previous studies, global warming is intensifying hurricanes by increasing the amount of thermal energy they contain.
In turn, cyclones redistribute heat in the atmosphere over long distances around their center.
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