Arctic Warming & Climate Change = More Dangerous Hurricanes
Global warming weather effect… fact or fiction?
What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. What does this mean to you? Researchers state that Hurricane Harvey which clobbered the entire state of Texas, is the type of extreme storm that we will see more of in a warming world. Epic rainfall rates and rising sea surges have led to catastrophic damage in the great state of Texas.
Using Models to investigate links between climate change and extreme weather
You never can identify a single cause for killer storms. Extreme events always bring multiple factors together at the same time. There is plenty of debate within the scientific community regarding climate change and extreme weather. But notable to point out is the fact that attribution of extreme weather on global warming is based on using models to attempt to recreate historic weather records.
A weather model, also known as numerical weather prediction, is a complex algorithm run by supercomputers to try to predict future weather. Different models and assumptions give different answers. But many see attribution as a start toward quantifying, for instance, the increased risk of extreme rainfall events along, for example, the Gulf Coast due to Arctic and otherwise global warming.
In other words, climate science will never be able to predict weather without errors, but by identifying the data relevant to our ever-crowded, polluted, windy and rainy planet-it’s up to us to take action and utilize the data to take heed of its insights. Will these extreme weather conditions worsen as the global climate change continues?
To what degree does climate change affect hurricanes?
Is it a little or a lot? The degree of affect climate change has on hurricanes is not settled. People naturally want to know “why” or “how” did a catastrophic storm land in their neighborhood. And if possible, people would like to know if there is anything that they can do to minimize future chances of occurrence.
This debate is not yet settled, but many prominent researchers have theories, which they are not hesitant to share with an inquisitive public. There is room for our knowledge to grow, and for new tools like weather attribution to help us manage future risks. What can be done in the future to address future risks? How does renewable energy impact the negative effects of global warming?
Benefits of Renewable Energy Use
Renewable energy-wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass-provides substantial benefits for our climate, our health, and our economy. Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions, which trap heat, steadily drive up the planet’s temperature, and create significant and harmful impacts on our health, our environment, and our climate.
Increasing the supply of renewable energy would allow us to replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions, which leads to-among many-negative effects on our environment, such as extreme weather.
Climate change made Hurricane Harvey more dangerous
Its difficult to make a distinct connection between killer hurricanes and global warming, but there is a common school of thought who theorize that there is indeed a direct connection between past killer hurricanes Sandy and Harvey and climate change.
Charles H. Greune, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University, stated “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “Just like Superstorm Sandy, Arctic warming likely played an important role in making Hurricane Harvey such an extreme killer storm.”
Greene took it a step further by identifying how climate change influenced both:
- the formation of the storm
- and the path it took
Two storms that resembled one another’s destructive path, Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey, both lingered in a similar way. Instead of veering out over the ocean as do most late-season hurricanes, these storms bee lined for majorly populated urban areas and then stalled, dumping trillions of gallons of water on the areas, resulting in tremendous property damage and loss of life.
Maddie Stone, who holds a Ph.D. in earth and environmental science, said climate change either did or “probably” made Harvey worse.
Factors that Make Hurricanes More Dangerous:
We know that warming sea surface and air temperatures affect storms and produce more extreme precipitation. Indeed, the heaviest downpours in the world have become more extreme.
Global warming factors that may affect hurricanes:
- Rapidly rising sea levels – The first global warming factor that may make hurricanes more dangerous is rapidly rising sea levels in the sea region’s, for example, of Texas and New Jersey, making the areas more likely to flood.
- Rising temperatures – The second factor is the rising temperatures in the region which results in more moisture in the atmosphere, bringing more rain to the regions.
- Global warming may have also contributed to:
- a deep layer of warm water feeding the hurricane as it intensified near the coast
- sub-tropical high pressure systems – This phenomena is thought to have possibly stalled extreme hurricanes near the coast with sub-tropical high pressure systems holding a weather system in the middle and causing its route to slow or stall
Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, thinks Harvey was “a bit more intense, bigger, and longer lasting” than it would have been in the absence of climate change.
The New Norm, Killer Storms?
Many researchers agree that killer storms like Sandy and Harvey are the “new norm” as greenhouse gases increase sea levels, which leads to higher surges, which then leads to increased precipitation.
Hurricane Harvey and its remnants have quickly become one of the worst natural disasters in US history. The unprecedented duration and intensity of the storm has sparked a heated debate about how much climate change is to blame. The short answer is that we don’t really know, yet. But attempting to answer that question will help us to better prepare for the future.