Research shows climate change added fuel to the 2020 hurricane season, the most active on record

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The rainfall from the most active hurricane season on record was made worse due to our climate in crisis, according to new research.

The 2020 hurricane season included an unprecedented 30 named storms, of which 11 of those made landfall in the United States.

New research published in the journal of Nature Communications found that three-hour tropical rainfall totals were up to 10% higher when compared to tropical systems that took place in the pre-industrial era. Also, three-day rainfall totals were up to 5% higher.

When looking specifically at hurricane-strength systems, three-hour rainfall totals were up to 11% higher compared to the pre-industrial era and three-day rainfall totals were up to 8% higher.

Kevin Reed, a professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, led the study.

“Our findings indicate that environmental changes caused by humans are signaling more and quicker rainfall, which have direct consequences for coastal communities and sometimes outlying areas,” Reed said.

The research was done using “hindcast attribution.” This method is similar to a weather forecast, but looks at events in the past instead of the future.​ Reed says this is the first study to apply hindcast attribution to all of the storms in one season. Previous studies focused only on strong hurricanes that caused direct damage to coastlines.​