Despite Steanso's erroneous predictions (or maybe because of them- I'm looking at you, God), Hurricane Rita has apparently strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane and is now headed for the Texas Gulf Coast. The storm may go to Mexico or Louisiana, but it looks like it's headed for our beloved Lone Star State.
Why do these hurricanes seem to be more frequent and strnger than they've been in the recent past? At least one possible explanation lies in global warming (surprise, surprise).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (a subdepartment of the Department of Commerce) has a division called the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory which has been running simulations of future hurricanes based upon rising global temperatures caused by increased carbon dioxide buildup in the Earth's atmosphere. Although their work has not shown whether increased temperatures from the so-called greenhouse effect will cause more hurricanes, their research has shown that global warming is likely to increase the strength of future hurricanes, both in terms of rainfall and wind strength, as temperatures continue to rise in the years ahead.
These increases in hurricane strength are only one of many reasons why the Bush administration's failure to recognize the reality and significance of global warming is so troublesome.
The Bush administration has already refused to join in with the Kyoto treaty, a document which was joined by 37 other industrialized nations who pledged to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 33 percent in the coming years. Bush cited possible damage to the U.S. economy as well as unconvincing science as reasons for refusing to join in the accord (this latter argument despite overwhelming beliefs by climate researchers that global warming is already occurring). This probably wasn't much comfort to the Kyoto member nations who recognize, by and large, the U.S. as being the number one polluter in the world when it comes to the release of gases which have a negative impact on global warming. One more reason America is number one!
Anyway, the long and the short of my rant is that the increasing damage that we're seeing from these hurricanes may be just one of the more noticeable effects that we're seeing from global warming, but how are we going to begin to confront the problem when our leaders won't even acknowledge that a problem exists? Grrrrr....