Scientists have been predicting that cyclones will move more slowly as the world warms and tropical air circulation patterns-which ferry storms from one place to another-weaken. It points directly to the example of Hurricane Harvey, whose catastrophic rains were enabled by the storm's lingering in the Houston area for such a long period.
The study in the journal Nature, finds a 10 percent slowdown in storm speed between 1949 and 2016. But when Atlantic storms hit land - like Harvey did in 2017 - the study said the slowdown is a significant 20%.
While the new research suggests hurricanes and typhoons are slowing down over time, more work needs to be done to improve prediction models for how hurricanes may behave in the future.
"Nothing good can come of a slower storm", Kossin told Mashable.
Dr Christina Patricola, from the Climate and Ecosystems Sciences Division at University California, Davis, says the findings raise several questions, especially regarding "stalled" tropical cyclones.
Dr Kossin said more rain was also falling during cyclones, and there was evidence that tropical cyclones were migrating more towards the poles.
Previous research has shown that a warmer climate can hold more water moisture, so when it rains, it rains more.
Kossin acknowledged problems with pre-1970s data but said that most of it deals with how strong storms are.
"Roughly 7 percent more water vapor per degree C of warming", Kossin said.
As storms move slower, they can unload more heavy rain and pound coastal areas longer, increasing damage potential. So it isn't clear just how much of the change that Kossin found is actually attributable to human-induced climate change.