February 24 2018

Columnist wrong on climate change — ROBERT HASTINGS COLUMN

February 24 2018, 05:40 | Van Peters

Columnist wrong on climate change — ROBERT HASTINGS COLUMN

Column Climate change another fact for team Trump to conveniently ignore

By the time the rain stops, Harvey will have dumped about 1 million gallons of water for every man, woman and child in southeastern Texas - a soggy, record-breaking glimpse of the wet and wild future global warming could bring, scientists say.

In Florida the writing seems quite menacingly on the wall.

Six hurricanes, three of them major, and 12 named storms overall.

A recent study was published in the journal Global Environmental Change to investigate just that. "It's not the approximate cause of the storm, but it makes these bad storms worse".

This, he showed, could only be caused by global warming.

In Horry County, where 19 percent growth has led all of SC coastline counties, Irma caused only minor coastal flooding. The recovery from these catastrophic storms will take months, if not years. It was also the first major hurricane to land in the United States since 2005.

Hurricane patterns in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, have always been a puzzle to scientists. I know we have beach renourishment issues. Harvey rapidly intensified as it approached land, an incredibly risky trait also exhibited by other hurricanes within the last 20 years, like Wilma in 2005 and Patricia in 2015.

Several of them responded to the New York Times by insisting there was no more appropriate time to discuss climate change than while southeastern Texas was under water and Florida was flooded and darkened by a hurricane as broad as Texas. In short, climate change puts storms on steroids.

He said big changes probably will not happen unless multiple giant storms overwhelm federal and state budgets. When the topic involves climate change, it's more than a hot subject; it's an explosive one, and getting a decision hard.

Southern Texas and southern Florida lie ravaged by record-breaking hurricanes.

The current president has said climate change is a hoax.

"We should be focusing on the immediate effects of the storms, not wading into a political debate over climate change", Pruitt told reporters.

The connection that has been overlooked by the press is how climate change is intensifying natural disasters.

So far, the only Republicans willing to engage in either have been moderates or those representing low-lying coastal districts vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges.

The first sentence is scientific fact.

Scientists say it is empirical nonsense. The public needs to start taking it seriously and make active, tangible efforts in slowing it down because if we don't, the natural disasters are only going to become worse and more frequent.

But - convincing as they may be - these remain "it stands to reason" arguments, not direct measurements of the major tropical storms known variously around the world as hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons. During Harvey and Irma, dedicated channels were set up so those in the storms' paths and emergency workers could get instant updates. While reducing our environmental impact would be ideal, the best way to prevent this massive flooding is to turn Houston into something more permeable and less concrete.

"Are Irma and Harvey affected by climate change?" We have already seen the impact of unusually high rainfall in the Great Lakes basin this spring, and the flooding from Lake Ontario that resulted. It has been reported to be the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide so far in 2017. Also, some climate models used by scientists predict stronger, more frequent hurricanes as another effect of global warming in coming decades.

It's expected to grow into a Category 4 hurricane - with wind speeds of 130-156mph - on Tuesday.

Other media outlets took a more measured approach, claiming that man did not cause Harvey and Irma but supercharged them.

"The historical Atlantic hurricane record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced long-term increase (in storms)", said Ryan Maue, a research meteorologist at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Harvey is just the latest example of a trend of extreme weather that has been impacting most of the country.

We might also expect people in general to be less willing to support policies meant to mitigate the problem of climate change than policies meant to help their localities adapt to global warming.

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