About the episode
Dating back to the early 1970s: Saffir-Simpson scale. Since then, hurricanes have been classified into one of five categories based on wind speed, atmospheric pressure and storm surge.
In terms of wind speed, the first category starts at 119 kilometers per hour. Category 5 starts at wind speeds of 250 kilometers per hour. But climate change has made storms more intense, scientists say in a new study, which means an additional category needs to be added.
In the past 10 years, there have already been five large storms that fall into this sixth category, with wind speeds of more than 300 kilometers per hour. Although the number of hurricanes does not appear to be increasing, the intensity of storms is, according to satellite measurements over the past 40 years.
This will be a result of high water and air temperature and humidity. If temperatures continue to rise, the intensity of storms will also increase. This must be taken into account in the hurricane scale, which of course also serves as a warning tool.
This will not be the first scale to be adapted to climate. For example, Australia recently added purple to indicate extreme heat in weather maps, and the US Coral Reef Heat Stress Scale added three new heavy categories.
The US National Hurricane Center has not yet responded to the post about the hurricane gauge, which was once created by its director. So there is no official category 6 yet.
Read more about hurricane research here: Hurricanes have become so powerful that a new category is needed, the study says And more about the new coral reef heat stress meter here: ‘Literally off the charts’: The world’s coral reef heat stress monitor has been forced to add new alerts as temperatures rise