Stop the loose talk about hurricanes and global warming


Emanuel recently published a study linking warming seas to rapid intensification in hurricanes, a connection he discovered after simulating thousands of hurricanes in changing climates through a computer program.

Millions of people in Florida remain without power as I write this, with up to 10 more days estimated before power is fully restored. Meanwhile, Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, said it would be "insensitive" to the people in Florida to talk about climate change in the midst of dealing with Irma. Colorado State University Professor Phil Klotzbach in 2015 stated that an average of over 12 Category 4-5 hurricanes and typhoons formed during the period 1990-2014.

A part of supporting impacted people means getting serious about why storms like Harvey, Irma, Sandy, and Katrina and other weather extremes continue to happen with increasing intensity. Fortunately, Austin is far enough inland that it was only minimally influenced by the ravages of Hurricane Harvey. There are signs that climate change can influence hurricanes in several different ways. These storms caused a drop in temperature without signs of increase for the following week.

It would be wonderful, as some officials in Raleigh and Washington seem to believe, that not talking about global warming would protect us from its dangers. The waters in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico have been unusually warm, and this can give rise to more storms, and more severe storms. Early on, the Trump administration systematically removed information about climate change from federal websites. Our leaders need to lead on climate change, not try to ignore it. Sustainability with regards to climate change isn't just at the global scale, it really begins at the local and regional scales.

The Department understands that plan fiduciaries, employers, labor organizations, service providers, and participants and beneficiaries may encounter issues complying with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) over the next few months as the implications of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey unfold.

But are we seeing the impact of what this theory predicted, at least in hurricanes?

In principle, a change in global air circulation patterns could influence the steering flows that guide hurricane movement, much like a leaf carried away by a river.

What has also revealed itself is the propensity to rank the responses of governors to hurricanes over recent decades against one another.

While research on hurricanes gives us a good sense of how hurricanes would change in a warmer climate, measuring this change and, in particular, tying a unique feature of one specific hurricane to climate change are beyond the current level of confidence. However, these are very hard to quantify in the context of climate change due to the different time scales between hurricane development - measured on the order of days and weeks - and climate change, which occurs over decades. Climate change intensifies storms and other weather events, such as droughts. Better understanding of hurricane-climate relation is needed, as ultimately that knowledge can help serve society.