As The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney wrote Friday, the arrival of Hurricane Harvey is likely to reignite the debate about the effect climate change has on catastrophic storms.
Experts Mooney spoke to warned against simple cause-and-effect thinking.
Scientists like Emanuel prefer to speak about climate-related factors that can worsen hurricanes, like Harvey, in specific ways — and about the ways in which certain attributes of Harvey seem consistent with what to expect, more generally, in a warming climate, even if they can’t be causally attributed to it.
It’s hurricane season — and that would be the case whether mankind’s actions had stoked climate change or not. The impact, though, is that “the storm is a bit more intense, bigger and longer lasting than it otherwise would be,” Kevin Trenbert, a climate researcher with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. told Mooney.
And Harvey is expected to bring record-setting flooding, which could also be a result of climate change.
The sea level along the Texas coast is higher than it was 100 years ago or more. At least part of that is because of climate change.