A new study shows that when it comes to hurricanes, there may be an upside. 

Storm damage is easy to quantify. What's harder to figure out is the benefit of a hurricane or tropical cyclone. But Duke environmental engineer Ana Barros and her team say they replenish the region's water supply, recharge aquifers and prevent droughts.

Researcher Lauren Lowman says more water means healthier plant growth, which draws out carbon from the atmosphere.

She notes that, “within the hurricane season, the amount of carbon that is uptaken by these Southeastern U.S. forests is more than the amount that is released on an annual basis by vehicles in the entire U.S.”

Lowman says now that we know that tropical storms are important, the next question is will climate change make more or less of them? She says her team will study those potential shifts and how they will impact the environment.


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