5-speed listening (Hurricanes - Level 3)

Climate change means category 6 hurricane needed



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Weather experts are calling for a new, stronger category for hurricanes. They say this is because climate change is causing more powerful storms. Scientists in the USA want to extend the current scale used to measure hurricanes. This scale ranks storms from 1 to 5. A category five is currently the strongest. This is when winds reach 252 kph. The meteorologists say a new category of 6 is needed for winds of over 309 kph. Their studies show that in the past decade, there have been five hurricanes and typhoons that would have been a category 6. Hurricanes and typhoons are the same weather phenomenon. The former start in the Atlantic Ocean, while the latter occur in the north-western Pacific Ocean.

Meteorologist Dr James Kossin said it would take a long time for a new category 6 to be accepted. It would need the USA's National Hurricane Center to start researching more intense storms. Dr Kossin hopes to, "inform broader discussions about how to better communicate risk in a warming world". He said "significantly increasing" temperatures are caused by greenhouse gas emissions. This increase in emissions is heating oceans, which gives the water extra energy. This makes hurricanes more powerful, with much higher wind speeds. He believes there will be a greater number of "super-storms" in the future. He said: "These storms keep getting stronger as the climate changes."

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