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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Hurricane Idalia approaching the Florida coast, 8-25-23 (credit: NOAA)
A "bomb cyclone" occurs when a weather system's atmospheric pressure drops dramatically within a brief 24 hour period.  Hurricane Idalia went from a Category 2 storm to Category 4 overnight. Idalia underwent this abrupt change in a process now known as 'bombogenesis'. Idalia began pummelling Florida's panhandle with wind speeds of 125mph, unleased major tidal surges, and continues to drench the region in feet of rainfall.
A earlier example of the same process was Hurricane Riley which hit the East Coast several years ago with the force of a cyclonic weather system that stretched from North Carolina to Maine. Riley carried hurricane-force winds up to 80mph; caused major beach erosion; dumped over 5 feet of snow in some parts of New England; caused power outages from fallen trees over power lines; and produced extensive flooding from full-moon influenced high tides. The cost of repairs from that 'bombed out' cyclone was in the billions of dollars. Estimates from Idalia are yet to be estimated.

         Bomb-cyclone development (credit: GOES-16, NOAA)

Increases in atmospheric temperatures, caused by the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide, allows storms to absorb and carry extra moisture as the pass over warm water. The warmer atmosphere can amplify a weather event no matter whether it is a hurricane, drought, or tornado. The altered climate may also be changing the general circulation patterns of the Jet Stream that could affect the entire northern hemisphere. Mid-winter temperatures were measured at the northernmost weather station in Greenland to be higher than southern Europe the same year as Riley. Dramatic amateur photos and video clips gathering at the time were combined into a video that show the power and consequences of that super-storm's wrath.

Some investigators have begun identifying these weather events as 'the new normal'. Perhaps, getting 'bombed out' may cause folks to focus on resilience planning more agressively. The current consequences of climate change are now happening around us with increased regularity. WHB

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