January 2020
Vol 6, Issue 1

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Two days before Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas in September 2018, researchers Reed et al. made public predictions, based on a numerical model, of how climate change would affect the intensity, size, and rainfall amounts of this dangerous storm. A retrospective analysis of the characteristics of the storm after landfall permitted the same authors to examine the predictions of their model with the benefit of hindsight. They found evidence that climate change probably did, as predicted, boost extreme rainfall during the storm. However, the actual impacts were less extreme than their approach predicted. In particular, the analysis suggests climate change led to a 10% increase in extreme rainfall during the hurricane rather than the projected 50% increase, and to a nine-kilometer increase in cyclone diameter rather than the predicted 80-kilometer increase. While demonstrating some limitations on the predictive capabilities of their initial model, the authors are confident that post-event analyses like theirs will help refine future models and improve our ability to provide the public with sound scientific estimates of climate change's contributions to specific extreme weather events. [CREDIT: NOAA]