Storm power boosted by warming

Sunday, 10 Sep, 2017

In an age where climate change and global warming still receive spirited debate as politically hot topic, it may take a few more studies (and regrettably, a few more hurricanes like Harvey and Irma) before nations - and the courts - will be willing to recognize the compelling message of today's climate research.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a series of tweets that the hurricane looks like the largest ever recorded in the Atlantic, and that he was "watching it closely". Climate change exacerbates systematic violence against the poor and communities of color.

Scientists say that asking whether global warming was the reason for the extreme weather is the wrong question.

Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices - from racial profiling to economic austerity - that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes. From a thermodynamic point of view, that's what you expect in a warming world.

Hurricane Harvey brought too much rain to Central and Southeast Texas. We can attribute climate change to extreme weather events like Harvey. Each, on their own, would have likely been year-defining events for the US.

As scientists have pointed out, climate change didn't cause the hurricanes.

"People are going to have an experience with the storm, and if you're telling them, the storm is going to hit you and it doesn't hit them, they're not going to trust you the next time you make a forecast", NOAA meteorologist Neal Dorst told The Verge. In order to be able to find out, you would need to roll the die hundreds of times to really see if the statistics of rolling a six is different from what you'd expect. We simulate what is possible for weather over and over again.

There are signs that the government is waking up to the connection between climate change and national security. It won't be very quickly because we really have to improve the methodology. Higher water temperatures mean warmer air - which means bigger, more powerful hurricanes.

"One lucky aspect of living in Texas is that the deeper we get into fall the more likely those storms are to start turning east at lower latitudes", said Korty. Furthermore, Category 7: End of the World was broadcast on 6 and 13 November 2005 - which was 11 years and 10 months (not nine months) before Hurricane Irma's expected landfall in Florida on 10 September 2017.

Hurricane Harvey: at least 70 people dead, 440,000 registered for FEMA assistance, 100,000 projected homeless, water contaminated by chemicals and sewage, and we'll all help pay estimated reconstruction costs of "well over" $120 billion.

Q: Is there an extreme weather event that your team-as much as one can-definitively attribute to climate change? What we are, in fact, seeing are wild swings between extreme heat and extreme cold, extreme rainfall and extreme dry spells, exceptionally active hurricane seasons followed by exceptionally quiet ones, rather than clear patterns in one direction. "Also, climate change leads to increased rainfall for a storm of a given strength, leading to increased freshwater flooding". I can't say why. In fact, say the researchers, who include investigators from Columbia University, the University of Oxford and North Carolina State University, the cause of the sea level rise can now be linked to specific industrial players that contribute the majority of the world's carbon emissions.

We need to use all of the tools in the toolbox to address these scientific questions.

Far from facing the obvious truth, that thousands of deaths across the globe are related to climate change, Trump has responded with awe: "Wow - Now experts are calling #Houston a once in 500 year flood!" It already had this predictive element. That judgment grows more apt with each passing day we don't reverse course. Progress in understanding the climate system is being hampered by an institutionalised effort to stifle this creative tension in the name of a "consensus" that humans have caused recent climate change. But "the "war on science" that I am most concerned about is the war from within science - scientists and the organisations that support science who are playing power politics with their expertise and passing off their naive notions of risk and political opinions as science".