Monday, September 1, 2008

Is there connection between climate change and hurricane Gustav?

Hurricane Gustav is expected to be even worse than it was the infamous Katrina, back in 2005. There has been a lot of these really strong storms lately, so there's no surprise that many people relate them to recent climate changes and global warming phenomenon. But is really global warming responsible for these major storms?

In the last 4 years there was only one year that went relatively calm while years 2004, 2005 and 2007 were quite high, with hurricanes Gustav and Katrina, and six other storms reaching Category 4 or higher with sustained winds of at least 131 mph (211 kph). Because of the global warming Atlantic has become warmer, and energy pumped from these warmer waters has increased seriously since the mid 1990s, mostly in the strongest of hurricanes. So is the global warming responsible for Gustav and other major storms?

Very difficult to say. Global warming is responsible for many "new" weather patterns so we could easily relate global warming to Gustav. However there is no certain proof that global warming made Gustav, Katrina, and other major storms so powerful because this would mean relating every single weather event with global warming. This of course isn't scientifically acceptable.

While there is not certain connection between Gustav and global warming one thing is still sure tough, namely that these strong major storms will in future become even stronger, as effect of global warming increases. There were some analysis that confirmed the relation between global warming and hurricanes like the one by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Data gathered from NCAR showed that global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005.

It is uncertain whether global warming is responsible for major storms like Katrina and Gustav.

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