I often hear news reports of rapidly increasing problems use the word "exponentially" for emphasis. For example, tonight's BBC America World News included a segment on the growing Syrian refugee problem, saying the number of refugees was "increasing exponentially".
Now clearly this usage is not consistent with mathematically accurate usage and though I'm sure most understand the intent, it still bothers me.
For reference, the number of registered Syrian refugees increased from 471,808 on 2012-12-31 to 2,241,100 on 2013-12-13. Neither "five-fold increase" nor "quintupling" seem to have the same impact.
Can anyone suggest an alternative word that is not so mathematical in nature to describe such an increase? Of course, I'm looking for a word to describe future growth, not past.