Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is a Tropical Storm a Climate-Change related event?

Below, Sophia recounts the damage of Tropical Storm Alia in Bangladesh and Eastern India. Thankfully, it looks to be a low (relatively) death toll.

In the intersecting worlds of climate-change and security policy, we spend a large chunk of time talking about how climate change will increase the likelihood of large, fatal, highly damaging storms. We focus on regions that -- because of geography, population, or poverty -- are particularly vulnerable to these storms. We say that a warming climate will cause more damage to coastal regions. However, we will never be able to say that climate change caused this storm. Weather is not climate, and climate is not weather. There are simply too many factors that affects storms like this. What we can say is that tragedies and disruptions like this are likely to become more dangerous as well as more common.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress has a good post that marks the beginning of the North American Hurricane season. He says that its scheduled for June 1, but he makes a strong case that climate change means that it has already arrived. What that means for policymakers is that more attention and resources should be given to climate adaptation, like Oxfam's flood disaster project in Bangladesh, and national governments should give consideration to intense planning to reduce the damage from these sorts of disasters.

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