LOS ANGELES - Hurricane Dorian is now the most powerful hurricane to hit an Atlantic island, scientists from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service said Tuesday, and one of their prediction models indicated that waves caused by the storm could reach as high as 37 feet by September 5.
The European Union-backed marine service has been tracking the storm, and its scientists were able to forecast wave height up until Sept. 7 based off of historical data starting on Aug. 27. They determined “significant wave height” by finding the average height of the highest one-third of all waves, which means that observed wave height could be as much as 1.5 to 2 times higher.
The Copernicus Marine Service animated its wave height forecast, which can be seen below. The forecast date ticks along with the animation in the lower left corner, and wave height is indicated by the color of the animation, with dark red signifying the highest waves (30 feet).
The agency says that heat stored in the oceans from a summer of record-breaking heat waves “acts as energy and fuels stronger and more extreme storms,” which contributed to Hurricane Dorian’s catastrophic strength as it pummeled the Bahamas Monday as a Category 5 storm.
Hurricanes extract heat from the surface and sub-surface of the ocean (down to 2,100 feet), and Ocean Heat Content (OHC) has been steadily increasing since Copernicus Marine Service first started gathering this data.
Scientists at the agency predict that extreme and even record-breaking weather events, such as Hurricane Dorian, will continue to become more common.
“Extreme weather, a pattern of climate change, is expected to continue and even intensify,” Copernicus Marine Service warned.