What’s driving an increasing number of hurricanes to rapidly intensify?

Studies have linked the trend to climate change

A satellite image of Hurricane Lee.

In just 24 hours, Hurricane Lee intensified explosively from a Category 1 to a major Category 5 hurricane (shown here as a Category 5 on September 8).


On the morning of September 5, a loosely swirling system of thunderstorms formed off the western coast of Africa. By September 6, the system had become a Category 1 storm, with maximum winds at least 130 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour).