HURRICANE CLIMATE LINK
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