It hasn’t even reached land but the liberals at Think Progress have already blamed
global warming climate change for Hurricane Irene.
Yes, they really went there.
Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a Category Two storm, and is expected to track a path of destruction up the densely populated Atlantic coast, with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordering the first-ever mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas of the city. As the U.S. government report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the US” summarized in 2009, warming of the oceans is causing Atlantic hurricanes to become more intense and dangerous:
The destructive potential of Atlantic hurricanes has increased since 1970, correlated with an increase in sea surface temperature. An increase in average summer wave heights along the U.S. Atlantic coastline since 1975 has been attributed to a progressive increase in hurricane power. The intensity of Atlantic hurricanes is likely to increase during this century with higher peak wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge height and strength. Even with no increase in hurricane intensity, coastal inundation and shoreline retreat would increase as sea-level rise accelerates, which is one of the most certain and most costly consequences of a warming climate.
Below, ThinkProgress Green explores in more detail how Hurricane Irene has been made more destructive by the combustion of hundreds of billions of tons of fossil fuels.
Oceanic Warming. Greenhouse pollution is causing the world’s oceans to warm. Sea surface temperatures in the region where Hurricane Irene formed and along its track are around 0.5°C warmer than they were about 30 years ago. “This rise is simulated pretty well by climate models forced by anthropogenic changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols, implicating these as the probable cause,” Dr. Doug Smith, the climate scientist who leads the Met Office Decadal Climate Prediction System tells ThinkProgress. This increased heat adds about 10 to 20 miles to the top potential speed of the hurricane’s winds. Storm surge increases proportionally to the square of the wind speed, meaning a 10 percent increase in hurricane wind speed means a 20 percent increase in storm surge. Climate scientists are debating how global warming and natural variability are interacting to change the intensity of Atlantic storms overall…
Back in the real world… Global hurricane activity has actually decreased to the lowest level in 30 years since the 1970s.