Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'Only A Matter of Time' Before Category 6 Hurricane Hits U.S.

Climate
Florence from International Space Station. NASA

By Andy Rowell

As I write, Typhoon Mangkhut and Hurricane Florence are still making waves on different continents leaving millions of people to pick up the cost of these two destructive storms.


In Asia, Typhoon Mangkhut is one of the most powerful storms to hit the region for decades. Although Mangkhut was downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm as it moved into southern China Monday, it has still left a trail of destruction from Hong Kong to the Philippines.

At least 65 people are dead, with the number likely to rise as frantic efforts are underway to rescue trapped miners in the country. In China, more than 2.4 million people had been evacuated in southern China's Guangdong due to the storm.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., although Hurricane Florence has weakened in the last two days, the authorities are still concerned about rising waters. The coastal city of 120,000 people of Wilmington, North Carolina, is currently cut off from the rest of the state because of heavy floods. Some 17 people are now known to have died.

As bad as these storms are, could things actually get worse in the future? The short answer is yes. More and more commentators and scientists are warning that the ferocity of these storms is linked to climate change and yes, things could get worse.

Bloomberg commentator, David Fickling wrote an article Monday, entitled: You Can Blame Bad Storms on Climate Change that said: "Climate change has dramatically increased the likelihood of several recent extreme weather events ... The frequency of extreme weather events in the U.S. and Canada has been rising for decades."

As I blogged about last week, one study published last week estimated that Florence was stronger and would deposit 50 percent more rainfall due to climate change. The scientists stated: "We find that rainfall will be significantly increased by over 50% in the heaviest precipitating parts of the storm."

One of the world's most respected climate scientists, Michael E. Mann, and co-author of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Ruining our Politics and Driving us Crazy, has also weighed into the debate.

He wrote that "What matters is that there is a consensus we'll see stronger and worse flood-producing storms—and, in fact, we're seeing them already." He called Hurricane Florence "a climatologically-amplified triple threat" of "wind damage," "storm surge" and "inland flooding."

As Mann stated: "Warmer oceans mean more moisture in the atmosphere. It's one of the simplest relationships in all of meteorology: for each 1C of warming, there is about 7% more moisture in the air. That means those 1.5C-above-normal ocean temperatures have given the storm about 10% more moisture. All other things being equal, that implies about 10% more rainfall."

He concluded: "Some headlines have reported that Florence is a warning of what is to come. But in reality, it is a warning of what has already arrived. Far worse is to come if we don't get serious, in a hurry, about acting on climate change."

Indeed, author Jeff Nesbit's forthcoming book This Is The Way The World Ends is published later this month. At its height Florence was a category 4 Hurricane. Nesbit argued that "There is no such thing as a category 6 hurricane or tropical storm—yet. But a combination of warmer oceans and more water in the atmosphere could make the devastation of 2017 pale in comparison."

He too warned that more water vapor and water temperatures could create "super storms" that "we haven't seen before—and aren't really prepared for."

"No one in America has ever experienced the wrath and fury of a category 6 hurricane, which now genuinely seems possible and realistic. We've been lucky," Nesbit wrote: "Unofficial category 6 hurricanes have appeared in other parts of the world, and we're seeing much stronger storms on a regular basis … It's only a matter of time before one hits the U.S."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less