Hurricanes are maintaining their strength farther inland as the planet warms, study finds

(CNN)Over the years, scientists have found lots of evidence that hurricanes are becoming more dangerous as the planet heats up.

They are rapidly intensifying more often, dumping higher rainfall totals and even moving slower, all because the world's oceans and atmosphere are hotter due to human activity.
Now, a new study has identified yet another connection to our warming climate: Hurricanes are maintaining their strength after landfall for much longer, and in turn, exposing populations far inland to damaging winds that they have rarely experienced before.
    The researchers found that over the past 50 years, the time it takes for a hurricane to weaken after landfall has increased by 94%.
    In the late 1960s, a typical hurricane would lose roughly 75% of its intensity in the first day after landfall. But today, that same storm would be expected to weaken by just 50% in the first 24 hours after landfall, the study found.
    "Say, for example, I'm in Atlanta at about 380 km (~236 miles) inland. Fifty years ago, I would have experienced something like a tropical storm from a hurricane that made landfall as a Category 3," said Pinaki Chakraborty, a professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and a co-author of the study. "But now, I would experience a Category 1 hurricane, so there's been a tremendous increase in the kind of destruction that can travel inland."
    The findings were published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, and add to the already large body of evidence showing that global warming is increasing the destructive potential of hurricanes.
    The researchers analyzed data on landfalling hurricanes across the continental US from 1967-2018, and then used computer simulations to determine which variables are allowing these storms to maintain strength even over land.
    A satellite image from Oct. 28, 2020, shows Hurricane Zeta in the Gulf of Mexico as it approaches Louisiana. The storm left tremendous damage in its wake from Lousiana all the way up through Virginia.
    What they found is that while some of the slowdown in hurricane weakening can be attributed to a shift in storm tracks, which seems to be pushing more storms to make landfall on the East Coast, by far the biggest factor allowing strong hurricane conditions to reach farther inland is the increase in sea surface temperatures.
    To understand why, the scientists say its important to understand from what these storms draw their strength in the first place.
    At their core, hurrica