Harvey, the Storm That Humans Helped Cause

By David Leonhardt | New York Times | August 28, 2017

A Houston street on Monday.ย SCOTT DALTON FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Even before the devastation from Harvey, southeastern Texas was enduring a year unlike any before.

The daily surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico last winter never dropped below 73 degrees. You can probably guess how many previous times that had happened: Zero.

This sort of heat has a specific effect on storms: Warmer weather causes heavier rainfall. Why? When the seas warm, more moisture evaporates into the air, and when the air warms โ€” which has also been happening in Texas โ€” it can carry more moisture.

The severity of Harvey, in other words, is almost certainly related to climate change.

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