New York floods: How climate change fuels adverse weather events like Ida
- New York and New Jersey are battling heavy floods
- At least 14 people have died, including a toddler
- Scientists say climate change is triggering adverse weather events
New York and New Jersey were flooded by tropical storm Ida only days after Ida emerged as a Category 4 hurricane to hit Louisiana causing massive damage and effectively breaking the region’s power infrastructure. Wind speeds rose to 150 miles per hour as the hurricane ripped roofs off buildings. The rains swept off homes and tear boats and barges from their moorings. As cities get down to salvaging what remains after the “historic” weather event, it has become imperative to question the role climate change is playing in such recurrent adverse weather events.
Many who study the weather closely believe that it was climate change that helped Ida gain such enormous strength and that to such rapidly before it made landfall. The hurricane went from Category 1 to Category 4 within a space of 24 hours.
Scientists say the ocean was the temperature of bathwater — nearly 85°F — a few degrees hotter than average, according to measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The extra heat acted as fuel for the storm. According to scientists, heat is energy and hurricanes with more energy have faster wind speeds and larger storm surges.
As the Earth heats up, rapidly intensifying hurricanes such as Hurricane Ida will become more common, according to scientists.
The trend of rapidly intensifying hurricanes is currently more common in the Atlantic Ocean. A 2019 study had found that hurricanes such as Ida and other storms travel over the warm shallow weather of the Caribbean Sea.
The US Gulf Coast has been battling adverse climate for quite a few years now. It faced Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Michael in 2018, Hurricane Laura in 2020. All of these hurricanes are extra dangerous because there’s less time for people to prepare for storms. By the time the storm’s power is apparent, it is usually too late to evacuate.