A recent study has found that climate change could lead to hurricanes developing farther north into the Atlantic and possibly affecting cities such as New York and Boston.
Hurricanes in the 21st century will develop in a larger range of latitudes when compared to the last 3 million years on Earth, the article’s lead author, Joshua Studholme, said in a Yale University press release.
“This represents an important, under-estimated risk of climate change,” he said.
According to the researchers, as the Earth warms, temperature changes between the poles and equator will decrease, leading to a weakening or split in the jet stream and creating an opening for hurricanes in the mid-latitudes to build and escalate during the summer months.
Climatologists have not reached an agreement on whether this will lead to more storms in general, said article’s co-author, Alexey Fedorov, a professor of oceanic and atmospheric sciences at Yale.
“However, multiple lines of evidence indicate that we could see more tropical cyclones in mid-latitudes, even if the total frequency of tropical cyclones does not increase, which is still actively debated,” he said. “Compounded by the expected increase in average tropical cyclone intensity, this finding implies higher risks due to tropical cyclones in Earth’s warming climate.”
Areas in the at-risk regions have already started to see some hurricanes make landfall. In 2020, Subtropical Storm Alpha made landfall in Portugal, the first time a subtropical or tropical cyclone had ever hit the Western European nation.
The research, which was published in Nature Geoscience, was supported, in part, by grants from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the ARCHANGE project.