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The Effect of Global Warming on Hurricanes

During this year’s hurricane season, storms around the country have drastically damaged communities. Specifically, Hurricane Ida caused sufferings for hundreds of thousands of people in southern and eastern states. While making its way from Louisiana to Massachusetts, it maimed every community that came in its path; it destroyed neighborhoods, businesses, and schools. Hurricane Nicholas arrived around two weeks later and harmed Texas. Although its effects were not as intense as Ida’s, Hurricane Nicholas flooded the streets and knocked out power for millions, impacting students’ and employees’ ability to learn, work, and play their part in the community. These two examples of hurricanes from this year’s hurricane season represent all of the traumatic storms of the past as they are a product of human behavior— global warming.

Climate change is caused by human activities and actions. Not only does the greenhouse effect gradually increase the earth’s temperature, but it also intensifies hurricanes. Tropical storms and hurricanes are natural occurrences that will happen regardless of the increase in climate. However, in already such intense disasters, it is important to not influence them to do more harm. Scientists have discovered that global warming has not affected the frequency of hurricanes, but they have detected a trend in the impact of increasing their intensity. Research shows that the warmer sea surface temperature and the rise of the sea level are the climate change-related effects that influence hurricanes. Warmer sea surface temperatures intensify the wind speeds of storms and cause them to release more precipitation. To create a hurricane, there needs to be high humidity, constant winds at different altitudes, and high ocean temperatures (greater than 79 degrees Fahrenheit). Warm sea temperatures power the storms so more heat results in more power and strength. The ​​National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that because of higher sea surface temperatures, there will be more category 4 and 5 hurricanes with wind speeds increasing by 10 percent. Additionally, the rise in sea level also causes hurricanes to intensify resulting in them producing more damage. Higher sea levels give storms a higher starting point of intensity, so, as a result, the intensification of the hurricane is higher because it grew from a stronger starting point. At the rate we are going, climate change is expected to cause the sea level to rise by 1-4 feet globally which will increase storm surge. Scientists have concluded that hurricanes will intensify with greater wind speeds and more precipitation because global warming is continuing to affect Earth’s climate.

As our Earth continues to warm, Hurricanes will only intensify even more. In order to attempt to reduce the stronger hurricanes of the future, we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can personally minimize your carbon footprint by using hybrid or electric cars, eating as little meat as possible, recycling, driving less, growing your own produce, using less hot water, turning off the lights, using renewable sources of energy, eating organic foods, using non-toxic household products, not buying fast fashion, and etc. These are just some of the many ways that you can help reduce the risk of the intensification of hurricanes. As a country, it is important for us to protect our citizens from hurricanes. In order to accomplish this, we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as there is a direct relationship between global warming and the growing intensity of hurricanes. Next time you brush your teeth, turn off the water. Next time you need new clothing, buy from a sustainable brand. Next time you are planning a meal, try to eat vegetarian. The safety of our communities is in our hands, so make an effort to protect us from the rising intensity of hurricanes.

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