Hurricane Season Heats Up: Train Of Storms Symptomatic Of New Era Of Stronger Storms

As communities assess the
damage from Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, and with Ike moving through
the Caribbean, our thoughts and prayers are with those in harm’s way.

This hurricane season is a stark reminder of what science tells us to expect from a new era of stronger hurricanes fueled by global warming: higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.

"Although no single weather
event can be attributed to global warming, it’s critical to understand
that a warming climate is supplying the very conditions that fuel the
strongest storms. The latest science paints an alarming picture about
what global warming has in store for the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts:
stronger hurricanes, heavier rainfall, and
rising sea level," said Dr. Amanda Staudt, Ph.D., of National Wildlife Federation.
Restoration of
wetlands, lowlands, and barrier islands can provide a coastal community
with the first line of defense against hurricanes. For example, about
half of the wetlands around New Orleans have been lost in recent years.
Because scientists estimate that every mile of healthy wetlands can
trim about 3-9 inches off a storm surge—and an acre of wetlands is
estimated to reduce hurricane damage by $3,300—we must restore these

"We must account for
increasing storm activity and rising sea level when managing our
coasts, especially by restoring and protecting coastal wetlands,
lowlands, and barrier islands that provide crucial natural levees. To
prevent the worst impacts of climate change and limit the impacts on
communities and wildlife, we must reduce global warming pollution," Dr.
Staudt said.

Find out more about the
connection between global warming and stronger hurricanes in the
National Wildlife Federation’s new report,
Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts.
Published: September 9, 2008