Is Climate Change Creating Crazy Storms?

Zoe Robinson, Staff Writer

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Less than a month after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in Texas and not even two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit Dominica and Florida, Hurricane Maria has made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane; it may hit the same islands affected by Irma and possibly the United States as well.

This year’s hurricane season has proven to be more concerning than past hurricane seasons with already three Category 4 hurricanes making landfall in the United States and U.S. territories, begging the question: is climate change partly to blame?

“It makes sense that the temperature rising so drastically would have all the power to create natural disasters at such a high rate and severity,” senior Hannah Tame said. “It’s the middle of September and the high was 95 degrees. I wouldn’t doubt (that climate change is the cause).”

Whether you are a believer in global warming or not, what’s been happening in the Atlantic Ocean has little to do with a warm planet and more to do with, specifically, a warm ocean.

Really, the abnormal intensity of these hurricanes is all simple science.

Water vapor is the key fuel to a powerful hurricane, according to NASA. The more there is, the higher the wind speeds are. Climate change is shown through many signs in the ecosystem, one of which is the warmer ocean temperatures. These warmer ocean waters are more likely to evaporate into the air, creating tropical storms. In turn, this creates hurricanes with the intense and rapidly increasing wind power we have too often seen this season.

As for all of the intense flooding these hurricanes bring about, winds up to 160 mph mixed with sea levels that have risen seven inches in the past century, according to CNN, is a recipe for what  we have witnessed in cities such as Houston and Miami.

Compared to past hurricanes—such as Katrina and Wilma, both occurring in 2005—Harvey, Irma and Maria have wind speeds lower than them by about 10 to 20 miles per hour. However, having three hurricanes form in the same general area, reach at least Category 4 and make landfall in the same areas is historic and record breaking, according to CNN.

Whether the cause of this bizarre weather pattern is, in fact, climate change or not, the planet must prepare for the unpredictable.

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Is Climate Change Creating Crazy Storms?