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So have now done a series of articles about the hurricane-climate connection, reliving my 2007 book, Storm World, in the process. (1)
2. I’m going to recap them here and then suggest some additional thoughts/directions.
3. I started simple and wrote a piece laying out the basics of what we know and don’t about climate and storms washingtonpost.com/news/energy-en…
4. So: expected to grow more intense, rain more, arrive atop higher oceans, and so on.
5. But as we’ll see this isn’t the end of the question – it’s only the beginning.
6. Next I wrote about how this debate has evolved since Katrina and Sandy. washingtonpost.com/news/energy-en…
7. Here I think it’s notable that scientists have become less guarded in their statements over time, particularly on sea level & rainfall.
8. And that future research (coming soon?) may be able to statistically describe how the risk of a given storm event changes w/ the climate.
9. Third, I wrote about the complicated problem of what is up with the Atlantic ocean’s hurricanes in particular. washingtonpost.com/news/energy-en…
10. Some scientists think the Atlantic has multi-decadal hurricane cycles tied to ocean currents. Some don’t.
11.All agree we’re in an active storm era; and yet there were no Cat 3+ landfalls for 11 seasons before Harvey and Irma. That is weird.
12. However, the strong hurricane “drought” may be partly a matter of definition. It also surely involves a good helping of luck.
13. But nobody should be counting on our luck resuming, or some sort of hurricane reprieve. (See "active era," above.)
14. The last piece argued the debate should be broadened to consider other storm traits that could change. washingtonpost.com/news/energy-en…
15. Those are season length, regions of formation/intensification, speed of intensification, and size. And there are others, too….
16. …like broader atmospheric steering patterns. Changes to those could matter a great deal, but it’s a very knotty and unresolved debate.
17. We don’t talk as much about these factors because we don’t have as much research on them, and/or because scientists are conflicted.
18. But if you want to really understand hurricanes & climate you need to see the storms as part of a broader climate system.
19. Hurricanes *will* change as the climate changes. They’re embedded within the system, guided by its parameters.
20. Thermodynamic parameters most of all -- heat and moisture.
21. It will take a long time to fully understand the problem but no doubt progress is being made. I see a substantial evolution since 2005.
22. In the meantime, the message for coastlines is clear – we’re very vulnerable (see @bydarrylfears on Tampa). washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/…
23. I ended Storm World (2007) by referring to some promising developments (at that time) in assessing changing risks to coastal cities....
24. … which led to a musing about the relationship between scientific uncertainty -- such as exists with hurricanes & climate -- and action.
25. Here’s that final graph, which I think still captures how to think about the science & implications that flow from it.
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