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Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/1/2017 19:05:41


TeamGuns 
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Well, the question is rather harder to answer than you could think, there's no straight yes or no answer for that one.

The thing about catastrophies, is that they always happen whatever the state of the climate may be. 5000 years ago, you already had tropical storms and tornados, and 5000 years from now, you will still have those.

Harvey is, with no doubt, a very extreme phenomenon: scientists have said it is a 1 in a 1000 years storm. Therefore, there is a chance that Harvey was just that, a 1 out of 1000 years event, and that nothing man does or did, caused it.

However, climate change isn't just about creating storms, it's mostly about having shorter time spans between cataclisms and the amplification of the damage they cause, two things that can apply perfectly to Harvey.

Let me explain: to understand what causes tornadoes, you need to know how these events are created. What happens is that the water in the Gulf is very hot, especially in summer. The heat provided by the sun evaporates gigantic ammounts of water to the sky, and when the air is saturated with water, aka when it reaches 100% humidity, it rains, a lot. That's mostly why tropical areas have a lot of water falling during summer. The ammount of water, and the energy provided by the heat, geting evaporated in the region formes depressions.

And when there's a lot more water and energy in the sky than usual, you have massive depressions that appear, and then puff you got your tornadoes.

That's an oversimplification of a very complex climatic system, but anyways.

So what Climate Change causes? It's mostly extra heat. The thing about ocean temperatures, is that the difference between a tropical rain and a tornado, is mostly a few extra degrees, and every time you add temperature, the worse a storm like Harvey becomes.

In addition to that, ocean temperatures take a lot more time to change than landmasses, so high temperature winters also affect the temperature of the water during summer. According to the NYtimes: "The daily surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico last winter never dropped below 73 degrees." (which is 22,8 degrees in non-retard units). That is a very hot temperature for winter (first time ever recorded), if you know that the average temperature (AVERAGE!) of the gulf in January ranges from arround 55 to 65°F depending on the location.

So it's very likely that climate change caused Harvey, you can't say it for certain, because again, random events to exist, but it's a very high % chance that it did.

It is to forecast that events like this will probably keep continuing in the future, with increased intensity; at least that's what scientific models predict. Let's hope they are wrong about that...
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/1/2017 19:06:53


Bane 
Level 60
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Thanks
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/1/2017 19:27:47


Wulfhere
Level 47
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What about the frozen areas on the planet, wouldn't those areas become arable and be able to host large populations? In other words, people could simply migrate from the tropics if it becomes too hostile and move towards the Poles. You're not actually losing any landmass, just trading out which landmass is too hostile to live on.
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/1/2017 19:37:00


Cata Cauda
Level 58
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^
Its not that simple. Europe for example cools down as the climate change eliminates the Gulf stream that warms up the Atlantic coast.

Edited 9/1/2017 19:37:23
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/1/2017 20:37:35


Wulfhere
Level 47
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But the Earth as a whole warms up, so I imagine that would have a cancelling effect on the European climate. Still that means Southern Europeans won't face global warming as harshly.

As for sea level rise, if all the ice on Earth melted, there would still be plenty of landmass to support the human population, especially if non-Western non-developed countries reach the birth rates of developed countries. The native population of Europe and East Asia is actually declining, only the third world has a population problem.

Earth's landmass if all the ice melted: https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-213877a477067fb338cf8cebb5e49d26
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/1/2017 22:49:53


Major General Smedley Butler
Level 51
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Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/2/2017 00:58:46


BUFFALO
Level 46
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climate change is a designed weapon of the reptilians. harvey was a targeted attack.
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/2/2017 03:50:15


Empire of Kilos
Level 32
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Honestly I stopped believing what those climate scientist guys say a long time ago, it seems to me they miss way more often than they hit on things like this, unneeded stress I tell ya.
Did climate change cause Harvey?: 9/2/2017 03:57:17


Zoya the Destroya 
Level 59
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What about the frozen areas on the planet, wouldn't those areas become arable and be able to host large populations? In other words, people could simply migrate from the tropics if it becomes too hostile and move towards the Poles. You're not actually losing any landmass, just trading out which landmass is too hostile to live on.


You forget that antarctica is mostly ice. As that melts the sea level rises and coastal areas sink.
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