Hurricanes and Global Warming

Hurricanes and Global Warming

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas with a devastating storm surge and high speed winds followed by several days of massive flooding and heavy rains from the category four hurricane. Now, just weeks after this disaster in Texas, Hurricane Irma blows through 400 miles of southeastern Florida, the Florida Keys and other Caribbean islands in the area as ta category five hurricane and as the second most powerful hurricane in recorded history with 185 mile an hour sustained winds.

Hurricanes start as tropical storms in the Pacific or Atlantic above the equator in waters that are 79 degrees fahrenheit or warmer. Then the moisture is sucked out of the water and the wind begins to spiral counterclockwise around the eye at 74-200 miles an hour. As long as they remain over 79 degree or warmer waters, they can continue to suck moisture out of the water to fuel the hurricane but, once it goes over land or colder waters, it can no longer draw its energy from the water and the winds begin to slow down.

Science has already proven that sea levels are rising and have risen 3.4 inches since 1993 and that may cause many coastal areas to be swamped even without a storm of any kind. With ocean water temperatures rising 1-3 degrees in the past one hundred years, this can fuel hurricanes which thrive in areas with warm waters and humid air.

Meteorologist Brandon Miller said in an interview with CNN,”But everything in the atmosphere now is impacted by the fact that it’s warmer than it’s ever been.” “There’s more water vapor in the atmosphere. The ocean is warmer. And all of that really only pushes the impact in one direction, and that is worse: higher surge in storms, higher rainfall in storms.”

Both hurricanes have caused over $200 billion in damage and the death toll currently stands at 42 people from hurricane Irma and 82 from hurricane Harvey.