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Hurricane Irma Is Our Warning: Climate Change Is Real and Vicious

Irma, Harvey, Kaita, Jose. These are not just storms, they are a death sentence. They represent the lives of thousands of people worldwide who will be affected by these hurricanes: people who will die, people who will lose their home, people who may never recover. Yet, our President refuses to acknowledge their cause.

How many more Harveys can we endure?

The link between devastating weather and global warming is now more apparent than ever. Although that correlation has a complicated, tough explanation, it can be summarized to one principle: the air holds up to seven percent more moisture per every degree Celsius the temperature rises. Therefore, a five degree increase in water temperature could potentially allow a thirty-five percent increase in water to be dumped by Harvey onto Texas. This concept, derived from the Clausius–Clapeyron equation, pre-dates political debates about climate change and is universally accepted in the science community. Hot air and hot water allow storms like Irma to absorb more water, causing high levels of rain. As Gabriel Vecchi, a Princeton University professor of geosciences puts it, “A warmer ocean makes a warmer atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water. So all other things being equal, the same storm on a warmer planet will give you more rainfall.”

Mr. Trump, the science community is not lying to you. This is not a hoax. In a post-Katrina America, we can no longer ignore the cause of extreme weather. Considering Trump’s resistance to the Paris Climate Agreement, a measure designed to help kill greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming, the future seems cloudy for America.

These storms need to be a wake-up call. Having four “once-in-a-lifetime” storms back to back cannot be ignored. It is imperative that the Trump administration organizes a nation-wide plan to stop climate change. And hurricanes aren’t our only concern. Right now, about 100 wildfires across the west are consuming 2 million acres of our land, due to dry land and unnaturally high temperatures. An earthquake in Mexico with an 8.1 magnitude was the strongest in North America in the last 100 years.

So what can we do? Continue to pretend this isn’t happening? Let people lose everything they have? Belittle the scientific community? Leave an unlivable planet for our children? No. We must send strong messages to the Trump administration that we need to stop climate change. United, we can save our planet. It’s the only home we have.

Sign a petition for Trump to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement here. Learn how to contact your senators about this issue here. Donate to victims of both Irma and Harvey here.

Image Credit: Chris Conway/Getty Images

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