Hurricane Patricia Was Made Worse by Climate Change.
Eric Holthaus, Slate: Hurricane Patricia Was Made Worse by Climate Change.
The original justification for cutting off the scale at 5 is that no human-built structure could withstand winds above its 155 mph threshold. So essentially there was no point in differentiating between storms once the winds were above 155. Right now, Patricia’s core winds are estimated to be 200 mph—with gusts to 250 mph—as strong as the tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri, in 2011, but at least 15 times larger in area. As I wrote earlier today, Patricia, at its current strength, is close to the theoretical maximum strength for a tropical cyclone on planet Earth. In fact, at one point on Friday morning, Patricia actually went above its maximum potential intensity.
How did Patricia get to be so strong? The answer, quite simply, involves human-caused climate change. Hurricane Patricia is exactly the kind of terrifying storm we can expect to see more frequently in the decades to come. Although there’s no way to know exactly how much climate change is a factor in Patricia’s explosive strengthening, it’s irresponsible, at this point, not to discuss it.