You’ve probably heard about climate change, but are you completely clear on what it is and its impacts?
According to NASA, “Climate change is a change in the usual weather found in a place. This could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year. Or it could be a change in a place's usual temperature for a month or season.
Climate change is also a change in Earth's climate. This could be a change in Earth's usual temperature. Or it could be a change in where rain and snow usually fall on Earth.
Weather can change in just a few hours. Climate takes hundreds or even millions of years to change.”
As a Louisiana resident, you’ve probably noticed that the storms during hurricane season have been getting worse and worse each year. Climate change may be a contributing factor to the increase in the severity of these storms.
Keep reading to learn how climate change impacts Louisiana’s hurricane season.
Warmer Ocean Temperatures
It is possible that warmer ocean surface temperatures are making tropical storm wind speeds more intense which causes more damage after making landfall. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it is likely that climate change will influence an increase in Category 4 and 5 hurricanes with hurricane wind speeds increasing by up to 10%.
Warmer seas are also causing wetter hurricanes. Cyclones are projected to have 10-15% more precipitation if the global temperatures increase by 35.6° Fahrenheit (F) (aka 2° Celcius).
Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (60+ inches of rain), Hurricane Florence in 2018 (35 inches of rain), and Hurricane Imelda in 2019 (44 inches of rain) illuminate just how destructive the floods related to high-rain hurricanes can be.
Sea Level Rise
Rising sea levels cause all coastal storms, such as hurricanes, to be much more harmful. Across the globe, sea levels are expected to rise 1-4 feet on average as long as greenhouse gas emissions are low to moderate. The rise in sea levels is expected to exacerbate coastal storm surges.
For reference, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy’s impacts were amplified as a result of sea-level rise and caused roughly $65 billion in damages in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A large portion of the damage was a result of coastal flooding.
Hurricane Regions are Shifting Poleward
Regions that are not accustomed to hurricanes may begin to see more of these types of storms as a result of expanding tropics. This is happening because of higher global average temperatures.
Since tropical storms are shifting northward in the Atlantic, more property and human lives may be at risk, but it is unclear at this time how the patterns of tropical storms will change.
Warming Air Temperatures
If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, Louisiana could see an average temperature rise of over 10°F by the year 2100. An increase of 10°F doesn’t sound like a lot, but it won’t take that high of an increase in average temperatures for humans and the systems we depend on to be impacted.
In 2015, there were about 35 dangerously hot days in Louisiana. By 2050, that number is expected to jump up to 115 danger days. Humans are not built to withstand temperatures that high for that long. Our ability to maintain healthy, stable internal temperatures will be significantly overwhelmed under such a circumstance.
Since the human body’s natural air conditioning system relies on sweat to cool us off, if the temperatures are both extremely hot and humid, sweating will no longer be able to keep us cool because the sweat will never have the chance to evaporate off our skin.
Overall, warmer air temperatures mean that hurricanes will be more powerful.
With hurricane season in full effect, it’s only a matter of time before another hurricane makes landfall in Louisiana. If you are impacted by hurricane damages, we may be able to help you recover compensation to help pay for your losses.
Call our office today at (504) 475-2455 to discuss the details of your case and schedule a free consultation.