Summer is For Competing Climate Disasters

Climate climate change
Summer is For Competing Climate Disasters

Depending on where you are in the United States, last week and this week are either too hot, too wet, or too on fire. In other words, it is summer.

The reality of a warmed world is that this part of the year will increasingly feature a cacophony of competing climate change-related crises, from heat waves to hurricanes. Call up the weather.gov map of watches and warnings at any point in the summer months, and you will find a mosaic of color, a county-level smorgasbord of all the impacts scientists have been raising alarms about for decades.

In South Florida last week, almost two feet of rain drenched the Miami area. Governor Ron DeSantis, who recently fixed climate change by expunging it from state law, refused to accept that warming had anything to do with the severe flooding that resulted. It’s barely worth it, but: a warmer atmosphere holds more water and leads to heavier rainfall, and also the seas are rising and creating a higher baseline for any coastal area flood.

Meanwhile, a 16,000-acre fire in the Los Angeles area has prompted some evacuations and worsened air quality for hundreds of miles around. The fire season in the U.S. has had a relatively slow start thanks to a wet winter, but the National Interagency Fire Center has said that the summer months are likely to see above-average activity across big swaths of the country.

Head back east and you’ll find Potential Tropical Cyclone One churning in the southern Gulf of Mexico. This is early days for hurricane season, but don’t tell the Corpus Christi, Texas, area, which could end up seeing ten inches of rain from this as-yet unnamed system in the next few days. Hurricane season will peak in August and September.

And finally, the heat. Much of the Midwest and Northeast is descending into the season’s first brutal heat wave, with heat advisories and warnings stretching from Indiana to Maine. It will not be the last.

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