Hurricane Harvey 'unnatural disaster' affected by climate change

Customers walk near empty shelves that are normally filled with bottles of water after Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irma in San Juan

'The Nation' Compares Climate Change Deniers to Murderers

If now we listen instead to the industry climate change "deniers" and block peer-reviewed science and an effective EPA, what will be the horrific results for our country and the world? Irma's 185 miles per hour winds were some of the strongest recorded in the Atlantic. It was classified as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 miles per hour. The prospect of increasingly powerful hurricanes only makes such short-term solutions even more shortsighted.

A 2014 study conducted by James Kossin and Gabriel Vecchi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology at Massachusett's Institute of Technology, found that hurricanes may become threats to new areas due to "a pronounced poleward migration in the average latitude at which tropical cyclones have achieved their lifetime-maximum intensity over the past 30 years". I'd add that Harvey and the others are fueling something else: an urgent debate over whether this is what a changing climate looks like.

There are two important lessons we can learn from Hurricane Irma: One, that we as a community possess remarkable resolve when faced with adversity; and two, that we offer too much praise to government leaders who are simply doing their job. However, this does demonstrate the accuracy of our long-term seasonal hurricane predictions as this year was predicted to be an above-average hurricane year.

Immediately following both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, people emerged from their battered homes and began cleaning up debris, and extending offers to help their neighbors. Warmer warms and more evaporation put more moisture into the atmosphere, so increased precipitation can occur. Just as it is absurd to say that a single major snowstorm in the winter contradicts anthropogenic global warming theory, it is equally absurd to say that one hurricane in summer confirms global warming theory.

Oddly, listening to the almost-constant storm updates on major media outlets has brought back one of my earliest childhood memories of weathering Hurricane Hazel at our farm with my parents and brother.

It doesn't matter whether you believe in "climate change"; the simple truth is this: in less than two weeks, we've experienced Hurricane Harvey's record rainfall and Hurricane Irma's quick progression to the most unsafe storm designation, Category 5.

Q: What types of weather are we experiencing a spike in?

In general, though, climate scientists agree that future storms will dump much more rain than the same size storms did in the past.

There's a lot of debate among climate scientists over what role, if any, global warming may have played in causing Harvey to stall over Texas, which was a huge factor in the catastrophic flooding. He pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier this year and has repeatedly said that environmental regulations are against the interests of the working people.

Likewise, the emergence of triple hurricanes in the Atlantic basin during September 2017 could be another potential signal of the more favorable conditions for hurricane formation from climate change.

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