“Category 6”: Mega-hurricanes becoming so strong they need new category, scientists say

As the results of local weather change intensify tropical storms throughout the globe, a new examine has proposed updating the class of hurricane power to the presently used scale. Published within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study proposes any hurricane with winds sustaining 192 mph or extra must be categorised as a class 6 storm — an extension of the present scale “to communicate that climate change has caused the winds of the most intense (tropical cyclones) to become significantly higher.” The generally used Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale was designed as a public communication software to assist individuals simply perceive the relative danger of harm from oncoming storms within the 1970s. It presently lumps all hurricanes collectively into class 5 if they have winds exceeding 157 mph. But the researchers, a duo from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, argue that as hurricanes change into extra intense, the general public need a greater approach to gauge every one’s relative hazard.  

“Our motivation here is to reconsider how the open-endedness of the scale can lead to an underestimation of risk, and, in particular, how this underestimation becomes increasingly problematic in a warming world,” the researchers wrote. “We find that a number of recent storms have already achieved this hypothetical category 6 intensity and based on multiple independent lines of evidence examining the highest simulated and potential peak wind speeds, more such storms are projected as the climate continues to warm …. Five of those storms exceeded our hypothetical category 6 and all of these occurred in the last 9 years of the record.”

In their analysis, the scientists cite the devastating Typhoon Haiyan for example of a possible class 6 hurricane. Reaching 195 mph, it killed a minimum of 6,300 individuals within the Philippines in 2013. They additionally cited 2015’s Hurricane Patricia, then probably the most highly effective storm on document, whose flooding affected greater than 223,000 individuals in Mexico at the same time as efficient evacuation strategies minimized fatalities. When it made landfall, Hurricane Patricia was nonetheless categorised as a class 4 storm. It was reclassified to a class 5 in lower than 24 hours, a tempo quicker than some other storm. Researchers say that dangers for “category 6” mega-hurricanes like these might double within the Gulf of Mexico if common temperatures attain 2 levels Celsius above preindustrial ranges. Those dangers might triple at 4 levels Celsius.

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