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Will Atlantic hurricanes be larger in the future?

Recent research on tropical storms and how they might develop and grow in a warmer climate shows that it is quite likely that in the future, tropical storms and hurricanes will be larger than they have been in the past. This is due to a combination of warmer water, which provides energy to the systems, more storms at northern latitudes which allow them to spin up and create larger storms, and more widespread rain in the warmer climate. This is particularly a cause for concern for rainfall volume and storm surge, both of which are related to the size as well as the intensity of the storm, but may also be a concern for emergency managers who might have to warn of evacuations in a wider area. So far, though, scientists have not observed a trend towards larger storms, so this is something we will have to watch in the future. You can read an excellent discussion of it by Dr. Jeff Masters in Weather Underground at

Terra MODIS image of Hurricane Matthew from Oct. 7, 2016. SPACE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CENTER (SSEC), UW–MADISON