Researchers Say Climate Change Contributed To Flood
Researchers say the 1,000-year flood that devastated south Louisiana last month may have been intensified by climate change. State climatologist Barry Keim did not participate in this report, but says there are some consistencies between the massive rain event and climate change. He says in a warmer world, the atmosphere would be able to produce bigger storms.
“The atmosphere can contain more atmospheric moisture, which can ultimately be wound up into one of these storms and produce these very, very heavy rainfall events,” Keim said.
Keim says another variable consistent with climate change is warmer sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, which helped strengthen the tropical wave that produced the unusual amount of rainfall from August 12th to the 14th
“Warmer sea surface temperatures will also have more evaporation off of those surfaces that can ultimately be fed into those particular storms,” Keim said.
A team of experts that comprise of government and university experts published the report that concluded climate change made it possible for a weather event that produced more than 30 inches of rain. But Keim says what happened last month is not enough to tell us anything about climate change.
“We’re going to be studying this storm for some time because it was such an unusual meteorological feature, and why was this particular storm so efficient,” Keim said.