Is Climate Change Really Linked to the Recent Hurricanes?
In light of the recent hurricanes and the current political climate, there has been much controversy about climate change. Trump has openly declared that climate change is still a “hoax” and that the hurricanes were not caused by climate change.
Trump is actually correct. The hurricanes were not caused by climate change; they were actually amplified by climate change.
Hurricanes are a natural occurrence and do not start because of climate change. However, climate change has strengthened the hurricanes, which leads to more damage. Climate scientists predict that, as global temperatures continue to increase, so will the severity of such huge storms. Scientists are still iffy about the specifics of this topic since this issue is fairly new and more research needs to be done. Nevertheless, it is clear that major storms are currently falling outside the normal range of severity. Additionally, scientists are predicting an increase in the number of major storms.
In general, higher temperatures mean trouble. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the sea-surface temperature has risen by 0.5 degrees to 1 degrees; and while this number may seem small, the effects can be very drastic. The higher temperatures feed the storms and help them intensify faster than they used to. Researchers found that storms reached Category 3 wind speeds nine hours faster than they did in the 1980s. In addition, higher temperatures lead to warmer air which retains more water vapor. This results in dramatic rainfall as seen in the case of Hurricane Harvey.
While it is true that the Atlantic goes through normal cycles of warming and cooling, this increase of temperature is not due to the cycles. This includes the El Niño and La Niña weather cycles, which are inactive this year. The higher temperatures from climate change also result in the melting ice which has led to the increase in global sea level. The rise of the sea level and temperature facilitates a storm surge which is the coastal flooding that hits suddenly before landfall. All of these things result in severe damage in general. It is also important to note that adverse weather is only one of the consequences of global warming.
Considering the damage that global warming can cause, we should all choose a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Consuming less goods will lessen our carbon footprint. We should also try to recycle more and eat less meat. If we don’t start living greener lifestyles, we will suffer the repercussions of our own actions.