So Irma is now zeroing in on Florida
After causing devastation in the Caribbean leaving at least 21 dead and thousands homeless, there are now forecasts that it will have an impact on the US economy.
There are forecasts of damages topping $135 billion in Florida. And other economic losses could push the price tag as high as $200 billion.
And back to back hurricanes in the third quarter will hit the US economy. Think of the oil industry being taken offline by Harvey. And the inflation impact of Irma hitting agricultural crops of oranges and tomatoes in Florida.
When a giant storm like Harvey is followed by an even more gigantic one like Irma, which itself is being followed by Jose and Katia, it leaves climate scientists looking at the connection between global warming and individual storms.
According to Bloomberg, climate change can’t be blamed for the existence of Harvey and Irma – there have always been hurricanes, after all – but it does shape the remarkable conditions they’re occurring in. The fuel for tropical storms is ocean heat, which determine each storm’s top winds.
Human driven climate change has made the oceans hotter than any other time in recorded history. The global average sea-surface temperature for July was 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the third-hottest July for oceans, behind 2016 and 2015. The waters where Irma was born were about 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal or 1 degree Celsius.
Scientists are now saying global warming will not only create more-intense storms. They will make them more frequent.
So how does that affect Florida?
According to the Miami Herald, scientists are saying Florida is the state that’s most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this US. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.
The US Environmental Protection Agency is warning that Florida’s cities, roads, railways, ports, and water supplies are vulnerable to the impacts of storms and sea level rise. The state is also exposed to greater wind speeds and the resulting damages and more inland flooding.
It’s a lesson for all of us around the world.
Irma and Harvey are what climate change looks like.