NWF: "Train of Storms is Symptomatic of a New Era of Stronger Storms"

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 03 Sep 2008 21:56:00 GMT

In a news release, the National Wildlife Federation’s climatologist Amanda Staudt warns that “this hurricane season is a stark reminder of what science tells us to expect from a new era of stronger hurricanes fueled by global warming: higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.”

Scientific findings she notes:
  • “The big picture is that global warming is allowing hurricanes to pack a bigger punch. Over this century, windspeeds could increase 13 percent and rainfall could increase 31 percent.”
  • “Even storms that do not reach category 3 and above will hit harder because they will likely bring more rain than a similar storm would have just a few decades ago. It is a law of physics that warmer air is able to carry more water.”
  • “Both Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav brought costly flooding, with rainfall totals exceeding 10 inches in some locations. As the remnants of Gustav continue to bring heavy rains, much of the lower Mississippi valley remains under flood watch.”

“We must restore the coastal wetlands, lowlands, and barrier islands that provide the first line of defense against hurricanes,” advises Dr. Staudt. “For example, about half of the wetlands around New Orleans have been lost in recent years. Because scientists estimate that every mile of healthy wetlands can trim about 3-9 inches off a storm surge – and an acre of wetlands is estimated to reduce hurricane damage by $3,300 – we must restore these wetlands.”

For more, read the full NWF report on the influence of global warming on the destruction caused by tropical storms.