Forecasting Change: Yes, we are seeing more intense weather

More intense droughts, stronger hurricanes, storms

GOES-16 (GOES East) spotted lightning in the eye of Hurricane Dorian the morning of September 1, 2019. Researchers have shown that the amount of lightning in the inner core and outer rainbands can indicate whether a storm will rapidly intensify.

ORLANDO, Fla. – This week in Forecasting Change we take a look at “Extreme Weather.”

By extreme, we mean more intense events. Think droughts, stronger hurricanes, stronger storms, heavier downpours.

Think about this past week with several spots in Central Florida getting 5 inches of rain over 90 minutes. Intense events are part of the picture of a changing climate. Check out this graphic that shows how things have ramped up in the last century.

Credit Climate Central

Usually, people think of the warming atmosphere when they consider the change in our climate.

This graphic presents the hottest years on record. For now, 2016 remains at the top of the list, but take note of how many of the hottest years have occurred since the turn of the century.

Credit: Climate Central

The data shows the top 10 have all happened in the last 20 years. And last year is now tied for the top spot, in spite of 2020 being a La Nina year that normally leads to slight cooling.

The warming will continue as long as we persist in putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In upcoming weeks we will talk more about some solutions and steps being taken to cut those emissions.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.