Hurricanes and Climate Change

Hurricanes and Climate Change

Introduction

Weather is the state of the atmosphere of a given region at a given time. Weather affects people and many activities they engage themselves in. Some of the aspects of weather that people experience include temperature, wind and precipitation among others. The climate on the other hand, is the long term overage of the weather. While the weather can change in a few minutes or hours, climate develops and changes over a more extended period.

As there continue to be changes in the climate around the earth, more new patterns of frequent and intense weather events or conditions are unfolding. Based on historical records of weather in a particular region, scientists have identified these extreme weather events, which produce either unusually high or low levels of rain, wind, and temperature among other conditions. For these events to be considered unusual or extreme, they are unlike the 90 or 95 percent of the weather events recorded in that particular region.

As the climate continues to change, more strange and extreme events continue to occur. For instance, global warming contributes to the intensity of heat by increasing the number of hot days and hot nights. In addition, warm air caused by the increased heat increases the rate of evaporation, thus worsening drought. Consequently, with the increase of water vapor in the atmosphere, the frequency of heavy rains and snowstorms increases too.

As the climate continues to change, more strange and extreme events continue to occur.

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Global Warming

Relative to climate changes, studies have shown that through comparison of different scenarios, a linkage between global warming and extreme weather conditions can be established. After Hurricane Harvey soaked Texas in 2017 and soaked some places in more than 60 inches, a study by van Oldenborgh et al. (2017) showed that global warming had a significant impact on the flooding and had a significant impact on making a Harvey-sized storm at least three times more likely.

In addition, the study established that even though the number of tropical cyclones may not increase or decrease, an increase in greenhouse gases contributes to changes in climate. Consequently, it increases maximum wind speed and the precipitation of storms.

Through global warming, there is a 6% to 8.5% increase in the maximum moisture content of air. The higher scaled condensation drives the circulation at higher velocities, thus resulting in hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions. Generally speaking, the high the temperatures are, the higher the heat produced thus forming tropical cyclones that have devastating effects over the land. In the United States for instance, the average temperatures have increased over the last 30 years. Across the globe, a similar trend has been reported and among the years that have been the warmest, they have all occurred since 1998. Over the same period, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico have experienced an increase in tropical activity.

Extreme Weather Events

The increase in the level of temperatures has coincided with the increase in tropical activity, a testament of the contribution of climate change to hurricanes and other extreme weather events or conditions. It is also a testament of the role that human activities have played towards the shift in climate around the world. With the damage caused to the environment and the prevailing climatic changes, less could be done to reverse to situations, that is, reduce the number of hurricanes and extreme weather events.

Adaptation

However, through adaptation, the impact of the hurricanes and extreme weather events can be reduced. Based on previous experiences, societies can learn lessons and come up with mechanisms and programs that help in reducing the impact of these disasters and events fueled by climate change. Evacuation programs, insurance for loss prevention, and organization in the society to foster recovery are some of the ways in which the impact of these events can be dealt with. In the long term, people should also change their approach in their day to day lives to ensure that their activities do not directly contribute to further destruction of the environment that results to climate change.

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