NPR] Hurricane Irma is hovering somewhere between being the most- and second-most powerful hurricane recorded in the Atlantic. It follows Harvey, which dumped trillions of gallons of water on South Texas. And now, Hurricane Jose is falling into step behind Irma, and gathering strength.
Is this what climate change scientists predicted?
In a word, yes. Climate scientists such as Michael Mann at Penn State says, "The science is now fairly clear that climate change will make stronger storms stronger." Or wetter.
are quick to point out that Harvey and Irma would have been big storms
before the atmosphere and oceans started warming dramatically about 75
years ago. But now storms are apt to grow bigger. That's because the
oceans and atmosphere are, on average, warmer now than they used to be.
And heat is the fuel that takes garden-variety storms and supercharges
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that
the Atlantic hurricane season this year would be big. They said the most
likely scenario would be five to nine hurricanes and three to five
major hurricanes, which is above the long-term average.
their reasoning is based on climate change. The eastern tropical
Atlantic ocean is the fuel tank of hurricanes, if you will, and big
parts of the sea surface have been between .5 and 1 degree Celsius
warmer than average this summer. Now, the Atlantic goes through normal
cycles of warming and cooling that have nothing to do with climate
change, such as in response the El Nino and La Nina weather cycles. But
this year neither cycle is active. Read More