Harvey and Irma in Perspective

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"As the United States struggles to recover from two back-to-back hurricanes, it would be wise to reflect on why we keep having such calamities and whether they are likely to get worse."

So begins Kerry Emanuel's "Perspective" piece, published in the Energy and Environment section of the September 19, 2017 issue of the Washington Post. Read the complete article at  Why it’s time to stop calling these hurricane disasters ‘natural'.


Kerry Emanuel is a prominent meteorologist and climate scientist who specializes in moist convection in the atmosphere, and tropical cyclones. His research interests focus on tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. His interests also include cumulus convection, the role of clouds, water vapor, and upper-ocean mixing in regulation of climate, and advanced methods of sampling the atmosphere in aid of numerical weather prediction.

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What Do Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Portend?

Natural disasters are the result of the interaction of a natural phenomenon with human beings and their built environments. Globally and in the U.S., large increases in coastal populations are causing corresponding increases in hurricane damage and these are now being compounded by rising sea levels and changing storm characteristics owing to anthropogenic climate change. In this talk, I will describe projections of changing hurricane activity over the rest of this century and what such projections tell us about how the probabilities of hurricanes like Harvey and Irma have already changed and are likely to continue to do so.

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