Global Warming Is Causing Bigger Storms
It’s no secret; the planet is getting warmer, and we are feeling its effects.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the statistics. The numbers don’t lie.
The first decade of this century (2001-2010) was the hottest recorded since the 1800s.
16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000.
The first four months of this year were the warmest globally in 136 years, making 2016 a strong contender for the hottest year ever recorded, beating the previous record holder, 2015, which itself beat 2014. There’s no doubt; we’re on a roll.
These rising temperatures are caused by no other than ourselves. As we burn dirty fossil fuels to generate electricity, fuel our businesses, and drive ourselves around; we are producing heat-trapping emissions that get caught in the atmosphere. These gasses stop heat from radiating into space from the Earth, keeping it trapped in our atmosphere and warming our planet, a phenomenon commonly known as the greenhouse effect.
One of the many consequences of an increasingly warming planet is an increase in the intensity of storms.
As temperatures rise, two things happen. The amount of water that gets evaporated increases, as well as the amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold. Since the 1970s, global air humidity has increased by about 4%. This isn’t good.
Why? Because water vapor is the fuel for storms.
More water in the atmosphere means better conditions for heavier precipitation, be it in the form of intense rainfall or snowstorms.
More water = more intensity.
An atmosphere loaded with humidity creates the potential for any storm to develop into an intense storm.
More storms with higher wind speeds
Research has found that since the 1970s, the intensity and duration of storms have increased significantly.
For example, Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in 2013, killed at least 6,340 people in that country alone, with approximately $3 billion in damages.
Hurricane Katrina, which hit the US in 2005, has been the most destructive and most expensive storm in U.S. history, causing approximately 1,833 fatalities and $108 billion in damage.
The increases in duration and intensity of storms are closely linked to increases in global average temperatures. This means that if we continue to allow global temperatures to rise, these types of storms are likely to continue to grow in size and intensity, causing even worse damage.