Climate Refugees

It is difficult to see and to consider the consequences of the devastation from this summer’s hurricanes.  Now it appears a mass exodus from Puerto Rico is beginning, with many indicating they may not return.

What is really discouraging is the probability that similar or even stronger hurricanes will continue to occur in this region in the future.  While no one can say for certain that another category 5 hurricane will hit the region next year, it is highly likely that more such hurricanes will occur in the coming years.  The oceans have been acting as huge heat sinks, absorbing much of the heat from increased greenhouse gas emissions.  An article in Scientific American discusses this.  Oceans Hid the Heat and Slowed Pace of Global Warming   “About 90 percent of the Earth’s heat is stored in the oceans due to the atmosphere’s limited storage capacity, according to the study.”

A similar article Is Global Warming Really Paused?  in Decoded Science.

The following graph is from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

400px-Ocean_Heat_Content_(2012)

The warmer ocean waters increase the intensity of hurricanes.

The two questions are:

  1. Does it make sense to rebuild in these areas?
  2. How do we help climate refugees?

The damage in Houston, Puerto Rico, and the islands in the Caribbean is a precursor of what will continue to occur in the future.  What specific steps can we take now to prepare for that?

 

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