Hurricane Watch: Connection to Climate Change?

It seems as if everyday on the news they’re talking about another destructive mega-storm that is devastating a certain region of the world. In this past month alone, there have been two major hurricanes that have ravaged different regions of the United States, as well as a number of island nations in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Harvey, which first formed on August 13th, has been estimated to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history; according to AccuWeather, the potential cost of Harvey could reach $190 billion- which is equal to the combined costs of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy.

More recently, Hurricane Irma hit the British Virgin Islands on Wednesday and has been working its way up to the southeastern coast of the U.S. ever since. The tropical storm began as a Category 5 hurricane that devastated entire island nations such as Ciego de Avila and Antigua & Barbuda. It was reported that waves reached as high as 25 feet tall and maximum winds were 120 mph. As of September 10th, 2017, the hurricane has hit the lower regions of South Florida, and it has been lowered to a Category 3 hurricane and has devastated many residences and businesses.

In other parts of the world, natural disasters also wreak havoc. For example, in Northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal there have been unprecedented monsoons that destroyed people’s homes and have taken the lives of 1,200 people already this year. Each year in this region, monsoon season has been getting progressively worse and it has costed these countries dearly both financially and morally. 

Taking all of this into consideration, the general public has shown signs of panic over what should be done and confusion about why these storms are occurring seemingly simultaneously. Many people agree that these recent events have a direct correlation with the climate change driven weather trends that have been observed in recent decades. Esteemed scientists and climate change activists- such as Neil Degrasse Tyson and Bill Nye- have all agreed that these events are not mere coincidence. According to a podcast on these hurricanes, global warming directly affects the strength of hurricanes and other tropical storms. As the Earth’s temperature rises, the energy in the atmosphere increases and causes storms to be more violent. In addition, the flow of the ocean currents do not act as they usually do, which causes a higher frequency of tropical storms. Many climate scientists have been warning the public for years about the dangers that we might face as a result of our destructive behavior towards the planet, but it was difficult to convince people of the real dangers that lie ahead. Now, with the sudden materialization of major storms all over the world, it seems that many who were climate skeptics before-have had a change of heart. Many people on social media have vocalized their concerns over why these natural disasters have been occurring so frequently, and whether or not they have a correlation with climate change trends. The signs are quite clear that the world’s climate is dramatically changing, and the question now is how we can try to prevent further serious damage, and hope for a future where this is not the norm.

 

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