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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What Can We Say About the Role of Climate Change in the Disaster of Harvey?

By now most of us are painfully aware that many of the record breaking storms are due to climate change. Most of the world's people already realize this. But there are those who just refuse to admit it, such as our idiot President Donald Trump. Of course educated people know climate change is real. Trump, and others like him, just don't want the business community to have to take a responsibility for the messes they have made. We need to keep reminding the general public that climate change is real. It is caused by industrial pollution over the last 200 years and we are already paying for it. -សតិវ អតុ

Editorial note from Revolution/ Revolution reprinted this with permission from a Facebook post from Dr. Michael Mann, a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University with joint appointments in the departments of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He is also Director of the Penn State Earth Systems Science Center and author of several books, including his most recent work, 
The Madhouse Effect. I'm just posting an introduction to the article to get the original in full click here.

by Dr. Michael E. Mann
What can we say about the role of climate change in the unprecedented disaster that is unfolding in Houston with Hurricane #Harvey?

There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding.

Sea level rise attributable to climate change (some is due to coastal subsidence due to human disturbance e.g. oil drilling) is more than half a foot over the past few decades (see for a decent discussion).

That means that the storm surge was a half foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.

In addition to that, sea surface temperatures in the region have risen about 0.5C (close to 1F) over the past few decades, from roughly 30C (86F) to 30.5C (87F), which contributed to the very warm sea surface temperatures (30.5-31 C or 87-88F). There is a simple thermodynamic relationship known as the "Clausius-Clapeyron equation (see e.g. that tells us there is a roughly 3% increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each 0.5C (~1F) of warming. Sea surface temperatures in the area where Harvey intensified were 0.5-1C warmer than current-day average temperatures, which translates to 1-1.5C warmer than the 'average' temperatures a few decades ago. That means 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere.

For the rest click here.

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