ROBERT HASTINGS COLUMN: Columnist wrong on climate change


Upton Sinclair said this almost a century ago, but it continues to explain much, including many Americans' adamant refusal to accept the reality of climate change.

We've chronicled numerous ways that people are rising to the occasion, assisting, saving, and comforting each other in times of need.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Regalado rejected Pruitt's claim, saying that Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, which devastated swaths of Texas and Louisiana late last month, offered opportunities to discuss climate change.

Millions struggled to survive the hurricanes, or watched them in horror.

It doesn't matter whether you believe in "climate change"; the simple truth is this: in less than two weeks, we've experienced Hurricane Harvey's record rainfall and Hurricane Irma's quick progression to the most unsafe storm designation, Category 5.

True, Harvey and Irma, like Katrina, were enormously destructive storms. During a White House news briefing on Monday, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert admitted Trump and company remain unconcerned about cause of climate change. Because it is water that powers hurricanes, hotter oceans and more evaporation should produce, in part, more intense hurricanes.

From this perspective, it is thus very tempting to assert that hurricane intensity variations must be connected to the global climate due to the vital role of ocean temperatures in hurricane development.

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Some research has indicated that the change in global climate could lead to a shift of the jet stream behaviors over North America. Our leaders need to lead on climate change, not try to ignore it. But Pruitt is sitting on the report because there is apparently never a time he wants people thinking about climate change. Already, five have hit the USA (Irene, Sandy, Matthew, Harvey and Irma), with Jose possibly on the way.

I suspect that our area had little advance warning that Hurricane Hazel was headed our way.

In principle, a change in global air circulation patterns could influence the steering flows that guide hurricane movement, much like a leaf carried away by a river.

Unless we take steps to switch to renewable energy and plan for a changing world, more people will lose their homes or their lives.

Some researchers have claimed that there has been an uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity, but the uptick is nearly certainly an artifact of improved weather-monitoring capabilities, as Chris Landsea at the National Hurricane Center has documented. "And whether that's cycles we're going through or whether that's man-made, I wouldn't be able to tell you which one it is". These factors directly affect the interaction of hurricanes with the surrounding environment.

From a scientist's perspective, the lack of understanding of climate impacts on hurricanes is disappointing, if not irritating.

Using social media on Wednesday, advocates for climate action spoke out forcefully-and in huge numbers-against major media outlets that enable those who deny the connection between global warming and extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Better understanding of hurricane-climate relation is needed, as ultimately that knowledge can help serve society.