Study: Warming waters fueled 2017 monster storms

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The intensity of the catastrophic 2017 hurricane season was fueled partly by unusually warm water in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science.

The warmer waters, 0.7 degrees higher than normal over the season, probably contributed to the strength of three monster storms — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — that struck the U.S. as Category 4 hurricanes, the study suggests.

There were six major hurricanes last year, two times the recent annual average, and the researchers warned there could be even more major storms in coming decades.

“We will see more active hurricane seasons like 2017 in the future,” said lead author Hiro Murakami, climate scientist and hurricane expert at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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