Get used to weather like Hurricane Harvey.
Climate scientists have been warning us for decades that an effect of climate change is an increase in catastrophic weather.
Despite the hackneyed response from climate deniers, who for some reason think “We’ve had bad storms before” is an intelligent rebuttal to shut down what they still believe is a debate, reputable climate experts are confirming that, yup, Harvey is actually a product of warming global temperatures.
Can we attribute all bad weather to climate change?
That would be tantamount to wondering which cigarette finally gave someone lung cancer.
We can’t attribute all good weather to it either.
But something scientists are universally certain about is that as the world warms, weather events like Harvey will become worse and more frequent.
One such scientist is Dr. Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State University distinguished professor of atmospheric science, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, and author of the books The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars, Dire Predictions, and The Madhouse Effect.
Yesterday, Dr. Mann published a piece in The Guardian titled “It’s a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly.”
“There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding. Sea level rise attributable to climate change…is more than half a foot (15cm) over the past few decades. That means the storm surge was half a foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.”
“Sea surface temperatures in the region have risen about 0.5C (close to 1 foot) over the past few decades.”
What once were considered “500-year weather events” are now occurring far more often.
Citing recent reports from NASA and NOAA, leading climatologist Benjamin Horton how we could conceivably experience Harvey- or Super storm Sandy-equivalent storms not every 500 years–but every five years.
“July temperatures in 2017 were anomalous. They were well above the long-term average of the twentieth century. Nine of the ten warmest July’s occurred in the twenty-first century. The only exception is a very, very warm year in 1998. July 2017 marked the 41st consecutive July temperature that was larger than the global average, and the 391st month with global temperatures above the twentieth-century average. So we’re just building a body of data that’s irrefutable that our climate is changing.”
But while we sit here with our thumbs up our asses, our “President” is going around slashing former President Barack Obama’s climate initiatives.
As Harvey was barreling down on the Gulf Coast, a story broke in The Nation about how our illustrious Agent Orange sat down on August 15 to overturn an Obama-administration rule requiring infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, be engineered to withstand consequences associated with climate change, such as sea-level rise.
It’s Trump. Why does he do anything?
Oh, and his obsessive quest to efface anything that remains of his predecessor’s legacy.
My thoughts are with the people of Texas, and I’m sure are yours.
Please give to the various charities accepting donations. (Watch out for scams, though.)
While you’re at it, call your member of Congress and demand more action on climate change policy.
We may not be able to avoid consequences of the damage we have already inflicted upon the only planet we’ve got, but we can help mitigate more Harveys before there are few habitable places left to move.
Featured Image Via DrRoySpencer.com