In the wake of devastating Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, Americans hunger to know whether global warming — something they once regarded as a distant threat involving polar bears and melting glaciers — is a here-and-now part of their daily lives.
OPPOSING VIEW: Don't exploit hurricanes
Irma became the second Atlantic Category 4 hurricane to strike the U.S. in a single season, the first time in 166 years of weather records. As South Florida braced for the storm, the Republican mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, said there was no better occasion to understand the threat global warming poses to the region's future. Pope Francis heralded the twin storms as warnings to mankind.
The reality is that there is almost certainly a connection between a warming planet and the growing severity of storms. The only question is to what degree. Climate change doesn't create hurricanes, but scientists largely agree it makes them worse. Sea levels are rising, and this increases storm-related flood damage in coastal cities such as Miami, Jacksonville and Charleston.
Harvey dropped more than 4 feet of water onto part of southeastern Texas, record rain from a storm over the continental United States, damaging or destroying 100,000 homes in Texas and Louisiana.Read more at USA Today