Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

21st-Century Storms Are Overwhelming 20th-Century Cities

Wired: “In just a few hours on Wednesday night, between 6 and 10 inches of rain fell on New York City—more than has fallen on San Jose, California, in the past year. Water rose in basement apartments and leaked through roofs. Rain streamed into subway stations and pooled on the tracks. The remains of Hurricane Ida, which had thrashed the Gulf Coast earlier in the week, brought floods to the Northeast. Across the region, the death toll reached 40 by Thursday evening. Subway delays and suspensions continue. The city’s infrastructure, you see, was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to withstand the sort of storm that comes every five to 10 years. Now brutal, record-breaking storms are an annual occurrence. What was left of Ida transformed the scene of everyday commutes into a disturbing reminder that climate change comes for us all. Wildfire thunderclouds in the West, blackouts in Texas, hurricanes in the South, torrential downpours in the East: “It’s all the stuff we said would happen 20 years ago,” says Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist and the director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute. “It’s just a little crazy to see it all happening at once.”…

Climate change did not create Hurricane Ida, but scientists know how climate change is making hurricanes like Ida worse. “It’s one of the most basic physical relationships we have in the climate: For every one degree [Celsius] you warm the atmosphere, you get about 7 percent more moisture in the air, and that means that you can have much heavier rainfall events,” says Hausfather. “Hurricanes have gotten wetter in the last few decades, and that’s projected to continue into the future.” Scientists have also shown that hurricanes have been intensifying more rapidly in recent years, as Ida did, due to warming waters in the gulf…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.