When Harvey moved toward Texas, water in the Gulf of Mexico was nearly 2 degrees (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal
Volunteer rescue boats make their way into a flooded subdivision to rescue stranded residents as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. photo: AP/David J. Phillip, photo: AP/David J. Phillip
29 of August 2017 13:23:22
WASHINGTON – By the time the rain stops, Harvey will have dumped about 1 million gallons of water for every man, woman and child in southeastern Texas — a soggy, record-breaking glimpse of the wet and wild future global warming could bring, scientists say.While scientists are quick to say climate change didn't cause Harvey and that they haven't determined yet whether the storm was made worse by global warming, they do note that warmer air and water mean wetter and possibly more intense hurricanes in the future."This is the kind of thing we are going to get more of," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. "This storm should serve as warning."
There's a lot of debate among climate scientists over what role, if any, global warming may have played in causing Harvey to stall over Texas, which was a huge factor in the catastrophic flooding. If the hurricane had moved on like a normal storm, it wouldn't have dumped as much rain in any one spot.Harvey stalled because it is sandwiched between two high-pressure fronts that push it in opposite directions, and those fronts are stuck.Oppenheimer and some others theorize that there's a connection between melting sea ice in the Arctic and changes in the jet stream and the weather patterns that make these "blocking fronts" more common. Others, like Masters, contend it's too early to say.University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass said climate change is simply not powerful enough to create off-the-chart events like Harvey's rainfall.
Humans contributed to Hurricane Harvey's severity—not only through climate change but the way Houston was developed. https://t.co/J2jsQRFrfF— Fast Company (@FastCompany) August 29, 2017