The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Climate Change Is Making Big Events Like Hurricane Ian Much Worse
Dear Diary. As I am writing this, Hurricane Ian is making landfall as a CAT1 system with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph near Georgetown South Carolina, or fairly close to the Myrtle Beach area. Ian has been a true monster and once damage totals are tallied; the system could be close to that of Hurricane Katrina in terms of dollar cost. Katrina cost the United States $186 billion, the most expensive natural disaster in our history.
So, did climate change ramp up Ian? It’s hard to say exactly how much added umph can be blamed on much warmer than average Gulf waters, but climate change definitely played a part in a very catastrophic scenario across Florida.
Thankfully due to modern warning systems, the death count will be far less than that of Katrina, which was more than a thousand souls.
Here is a brief explanation as to why carbon pollution is making hurricanes like Ian much worse:
Climate change is making the world’s problems — like hurricanes — even worse
DavideDavid Knowles Senior Editor
Thu, 29 September 2022 at 2:48 pm·3-min read
Climate change likely did not cause Hurricane Ian to form, and studies show that it also has not resulted in a greater number of global tropical cyclones than there were 150 years ago.
Numerous other studies, however, have established that rising temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels have made hurricanes wetter, windier, slower and able to ramp up quicker than in a pre-climate-change world.
Given those trends, it’s tempting to look at a historically bad storm like Ian and to blame its cause entirely on climate change. CNN anchor Don Lemon seemed to imply that in a Tuesday interview with Jamie Rhome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center.
“What effect does climate change have on this phenomenon that is happening now, because it seems these storms are intensifying? That’s the question,” Lemon said.
“I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event. On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse. But to link it to any one event, I would caution against that,” Rhome responded.
Research shows that between 1979 and 2017, the number of major hurricanes (Category 3 or above) increased, while the number of less powerful storms declined. Were it not for the exponential rise in the damage from the more intense storms like Category 4 Ian, that finding might seem like a wash.
In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that, due to climate change, the public will see a continued rise in the frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the years to come. That, of course, is different from saying that each and every major hurricane that will form in the future should be attributed solely to climate change.
People survey the damage wrought by Hurricane Ian in Bonita Springs, Fla. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
“In terms of impacts and climate change, yes, this season could be a harbinger of sort of what is to come,” Kristen Corbosiero, a hurricane scientist at the University of Albany, told the Associated Press. “But it’s really hard to say that climate change has an impact on any one storm in terms of its formation or its individual intensity.”
A growing body of evidence strongly suggests that climate change is amplifying the effects of naturally occurring events like drought, wildfires, extreme rainfall and heat waves, making the debate over blaming one specific event on rising temperatures increasingly beside the point.
Yet while some experts are hesitant to directly link Hurricane Ian or any other specific single event to climate change, many are pointing to the findings that push the boundary between correlation into the territory of causation.
“There is no question in my mind, or really in the mind of most scientists who study these connections,” climatologist and geophysicist Michael Mann said Wednesday, in response to MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle’s question about whether there was “any doubt in your mind whether climate change was to blame” for Hurricane Ian.
“It’s really not that complicated,” Mann continued. “The warmer the oceans and the deeper those layers of warm water — and that’s one of the things we’re seeing with the warming of the planet, that heat penetrates deeper into the ocean, so that when the hurricane churns up those deeper waters, they’re still warm. They don’t dampen the hurricane as they used to.”
Mann emphasized what is by now obvious to the overwhelming majority of climate scientists: Rising global temperatures are worsening the effects of some natural phenomena.
“All of these things are being impacted by climate change,” he said, “and all of that is on top of sea level rise, melting ice, higher sea levels on which these storm surges are placed, giving us again even larger amounts of coastal flooding.”
Very much related:
Here is more news and notes on Hurricane Ian (latest news will be posted at the top of this list, which I will frequently update as Friday rolls along):
Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:
Here is more climate and weather news from Friday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”