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For each of the past three years, temperatures have hit peaks not seen since the birth of meteorology, and probably not for more than $110,000$ years. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is at its highest level in $4$ million years. This does not cause storms like Harvey – there have always been storms and hurricanes along the Gulf of Mexico but it makes them wetter and more powerful. As the seas warm, they evaporate more easily and provide energy to storm fronts. As the air above them warms, it holds more water vapor. For every half a degree Celsius in warming, there is about a $3\%$ increase in atmospheric moisture content. Scientists call this the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. This means the skies fill more quickly and have more to dump. The storm surge was greater because sea levels have risen $20$ cm as a result of more than $100$ years of human-related global warming which has melted glaciers and thermally expanded the volume of sea water.

  1. The storm Harvey is one of the regular, annual ones from the Gulf of Mexico; global warming and Harvey are unrelated phenomena.
  2. Global warming does not breed storms but makes them more destructive; the clausius Clapeyron equation, though it predicts potential increase in atmospheric moisture content, cannot predict the scale ot damage storm might wreck.
  3. Global warming melts glaciers, resulting in sea water volume expansion; this enables more water vapor to fill the air above faster. Thus, modern storms contain more destructive energy.
  4. It is native to think that rising sea levels and the force of tropical storms are unrelated; Harvey was destructive as global warming has armed it with more moisture content, but this may not be true of all storms.
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