Storms & climate change
Thank you for your coverage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma — especially the article “Hurricane Irma toll hits 10, increasing threat for Florida.” With these intense storms, we have an opportunity to talk about how climate change will impact storms of the future. Avoiding this topic is like a doctor not talking to lung-cancer patients about smoking.
While climate scientists cannot link a particular storm to climate change, Harvey and Irma provide a window into how a warming world can amplify hurricanes. Climate scientists agree that greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are raising global temperatures.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the Gulf of Mexico was 4 degrees above normal where Harvey formed — adding moisture to the storm. On Aug. 26, Harvey produced rainfall rates of over 6 inches per hour. Climate change does not affect the path or number of hurricanes, but climate models predict an increase in moisture and intensity of storms.
Now is the time to help those who have had their lives turned upside down by Harvey and Irma. Now is the time to change course to avoid the worst of climate change's natural disasters — by putting a price on fossil fuels and rebating the fee back to consumers. We can do both, and we owe it to our kids to do both.