What Increasingly Violent Hurricanes Mean In Terms Of Climate Change

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As Hurricane Florence batters the east coast, my memories of the 2017 hurricane season are brought up. I remember experiencing intense weather during Hurricane Harvey even though I wasn’t in a heavily affected area. I remember people crowding the supermarkets and gas stations in a panic. I remember constantly checking social media to see if my relatives who had chosen not to evacuate their homes were okay. Even though I wasn’t in the direct path of the hurricane, this still felt close to home for me and for my family and friends.

We’ve always had hurricanes, but the summer of 2017 is set apart by its multiple destructive hurricanes. Between Harvey, Irma, and Maria, so much destruction was caused that it’ll take years to recover. And the worst part is that such storms are likely about to become more common.

Over the past century, our planet’s temperatures have risen ten times faster than they had 5000 years ago after the last ice age, mostly due to our carbon emissions. As ocean temperatures warm as well, hurricane formation, which happens in warm water, is affected.

As a child, I remember hearing about how global warming was melting the polar ice caps and harming arctic wildlife. While this upset me, it also felt far from home because it wasn’t visible to me and it wasn’t, as far as I knew at the time, impacting people that much. It’s easier for some to distance themselves from the problem if it’s not affecting anything near them and since it used to seem to be happening strictly on the other side of the world, it might not feel as real to some people.

Climate change, however, can’t be ignored forever. If the fact that it’s harming arctic ecosystems isn’t bad enough, global warming is starting to have a greater effect on the rest of the world as well. With these increasingly violent storms, the problem of climate change is being brought to us where we can feel its effects. And it’s only gonna get worse if we keep ignoring it. Politicians and people in power can deny it all they want, but despite our advances as a society, we are still very much at the mercy of our environment and we should be doing what we can to take care of it. It’s only a matter of time before it can’t be ignored anymore and unless we all start acknowledging it and taking action to mitigate it, increasingly violent storms could become the new norm.