DISCUSSION: Over the past year and counting, there is no debate that a good portion of both the contiguous United States as well as Hawaii (even as disconnected from the United States mainland as it is), has not had any shortage of tropical cyclone activity. On that note, it is important to acknowledge the fact that with a good portion of this tropical cyclone activity also came with the shattering of state rainfall records in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Hawaii. During the past 12 months, the world watched as Hurricane Harvey impacted southeast Texas, Hurricane Lane impacted parts of southern and central Hawaii, as well as Hurricane Florence which severely impacted North Carolina and South Carolina.
It goes without saying that with four states breaking tropical cyclone event rainfall records within the time-span of 12 months there are plenty of legitimate questions which are raised throughout the community. First and foremost, whether future climate change will make such events more and more common with time. The simple answer to this question is the fact that someone cannot pin any given event on various impacts of current and future climate change.
Therefore, to attribute that some given percentage of a tropical cyclone’s rainfall is directly connected to climate change would be a premature statement since any one event may have be impacted in a subtle manner from warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures and other factors such as favorable mid/upper-level jet stream dynamical support. Thus, there are manners by which a tropical cyclone can be positively influenced with respect to an increasing intensity feedback loop but there should never be an assumption for there to be a direct connection between tropical cyclones rainfall records and climate change.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz