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Trees tumbled, trucks flipped, and solar panels flew through the air in Guam as Typhoon Mawar pummeled the U.S. territory in the western Pacific on Wednesday morning. The slow-moving, Category 4 super typhoon unleashed hurricane-force winds, gusting over 150 miles per hour and leaving tens of thousands of people without power. Floods from a surging sea and relentless rain could pose an even greater risk to the island, although the extent of damage caused by the storm isn’t clear yet. 

Guam is no stranger to typhoons. The last major one, Super Typhoon Pongsona, struck in 2002 and caused $700 million in damage. But Mawar is the strongest since then — and it likely was made more intense, and more dangerous, by climate change. 

As the planet heats up, oceans do, too. Warming seas generate more fuel for cyclones, which feed on hot air and water vapor lifting off the ocean’s surface. Rising sea levels worsen storm surges — up to 10 feet in Mawar’s case — heightening the threat of floods. And higher air temperatures trap more moisture in the atmosphere, which c... Read more

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