What you can and can’t say about climate change and Hurricane Harvey

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

With a major hurricane forecast to make landfall in the United States for the first time since 2005, we may be fated for another debate about how climate change does, and doesn’t, affect these kinds of events.

It would be strange to ignore the role of a changing climate when it comes to hurricanes, because they themselves have a climatology — that is, certain conditions make them more likely to form and also to worsen. But it’s August, and the Gulf of Mexico can certainly sustain fierce hurricanes this time of year. Singling out Harvey as some kind of climate-driven anomaly would be a big mistake.

Yet the climate influence is still something we need to consider, said Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane theorist at MIT.

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