HUR­RI­CANE CLI­MATE LINK

First News - - Science News - by Ed­die de Oliveira

THE Caribbean and US have re­cently been hit by three of the worst storms in their his­tory. Sci­en­tists and world lead­ers are now say­ing cli­mate change has played a big part.

The Prime Min­is­ter of the is­lands of An­tigua and Bar­buda, Gas­ton Browne, said that the storms pro­vided “ev­i­dence that cli­mate change is real”.

France’s pres­i­dent, Em­manuel Macron, agrees. Af­ter the French ter­ri­to­ries of St Martin and St Barts were se­verely hit by Hur­ri­cane Irma, Mr Macron said: “All the de­ci­sions we will take from now on must lead us to com­bat­ing global warm­ing so we can avoid such nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in the fu­ture.”

Af­ter study­ing his­tor­i­cal weather data, some cli­mate sci­en­tists are say­ing that cli­mate change is in­creas­ing the fre­quency and strength of hur­ri­canes. This is be­cause a hur­ri­cane’s en­ergy comes from warm ocean wa­ters. Our oceans are warm­ing up due to man-made cli­mate change, which is caused by gases – emit­ted by the burn­ing of coal, oil and gas – be­com­ing trapped in the Earth’s at­mos­phere.

The link with hur­ri­canes cen­tres on a physics law that says that the air can hold 7% more water with every de­gree Cel­sius that the tem­per­a­ture rises. So the warmer the at­mos­phere, the more mois­ture it holds – water that is stored by hur­ri­canes, lead­ing to more rain and floods.

Cli­mate sci­en­tists have pointed out that, over the past two years, we have ex­pe­ri­enced the most in­tense hur­ri­canes on record for the planet, with weather records tum­bling all over the world.

Satel­lite im­ages of Hur­ri­canes Irma (left) and Jose

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