On Friday, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) climate scientist Amanda Staudt explained to viewers of KTBC-TV in Austin how Hurricane Ike is part of a new era of more destructive storms, fueled by global warming. She explained that we’ve seen an increase of about fifty percent in the destructive power of storms, even as we’ve let our infrastructure decay:
As a researcher who’s been looking at global warming and hurricanes for several years now, it’s really hard to see one of these big storms play out in real life my heart goes all to all the folks who are dealing with the effects right now. There’s definitely a contribution from global warming to the storm activity and the intensity of storms that we’ve seen over the last few decades and we expect to see in the coming century.
Hurricane Ike’s deadly path has claimed at least 31 lives in the United States from Texas to Indiana. It devastated the Caribbean, killing 61 people in Haiti, 57 of them in one town destroyed by floods from the storm.
NWF is leading efforts to help Americans connect the dots on the real and present threat of global warming, sounding a “Wake Up Call” this year on the Midwest floods, California wildfires, and tropical storms.
UPDATE: At the ThinkProgress mothership, Amanda Terkel notes that the “media is restricted from covering Hurricane Ike’s devastation.” Watch it: