We may need to revise our ideas of just where we expect hurricanes to land. A new study shows that the location where tropical cyclones hit their most powerful peak is shifting closer to the Earth's poles.

Top image: A visualization of the strongest tropical cyclone to hit each pictured are between 1980-2010 / Ken Knapp, NOAA


In a comprehensive study of how hurricanes have landed over the past 30 years, a team of scientists led by Jim Kossin and Gabriel Vecchi of NOAA and Kerry Emanuel at MIT found that the locations where the storms peak have been moving further and further from the equator.

Hurricanes have been moving towards the Earth's poles, at a rate of about 30 miles each decade. As the storms move further northwards and southwards, the scientists caution that we could increasingly see hurricanes hit harder and more frequently in areas where the storms were typically sparse. Interestingly, they also note that the same time period has also seen an expansion of the tropics themselves towards the poles, into the areas that have previously been classified as subtropical.


You can read more in the study that was published today in Nature.