Right now we have a category 5 hurricane with 200 mph winds, the strongest ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere headed for Puerto Vallarta. Now is this just some extreme event that could be expected under any kind of climate, or is it extreme because of climate change? It is certainly extreme.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Patricia would be “potentially catastrophic.” It is comparable in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in 2013.The typhoon that hit the Philippines was truly catastrophic, 6300 people lost their lives, but for many Americans it didn't exist because it wasn't called a hurricane (even though they are the same thing with different names), and it didn't happen to the U.S. So the fact that the we've had two catastrophic hurricanes occurring in the Western Hemisphere doesn't seem to have generated any awareness of global warming here in the U.S.
However, there is more data we can bring to this discussion:
A catastrophic typhoon here and a catastrophic hurricane there isn't quite enough to get our attention, but with the events described in that plot it becomes more clear that something is happening to our planet, something serious. And notice, not earthquakes, tsunami's or volcanos, which are fairly constant over time. But meteorological events and hydrological events, both associated with climate change are increasing, a lot. Climatological events, droughts and forest fires, are a small part of the overall picture, but still, their events are mounting.
What is this going to look like in another ten or twenty years? Far worse. Even a cursory look shows events reaching 1500 a year in twenty years. A little thought about that should bring people out of their comfortable chairs.
Most of us have jobs we care about, children doing ok in school, TV, laptops, and Kindles to entertain us, filling our lives with something approaching meaning and significance. But there are others, people carrying their children and all they own on their backs along roads and over bodies of water to get away from wars, wars that came about because drought eliminated their way of life.
This hurricane is speaking to us. Do something about climate change. Now.