Science and TechClimate Change


Climate Change Probably Made Hurricane Harvey's Rainfall Worse

Two new studies found climate change likely intensified Harvey's rains and about tripled the odds of a storm like that happening.
Posted at 10:24 AM, Dec 14, 2017

Climate change likely made Hurricane Harvey's rainfall even worse.

Before the storm made landfall in August, some experts warned Harvey could be the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in over a decade. It dumped 19 trillion gallons of water on Texas alone. And two new studies link Harvey's extreme rainfall to climate change.

One study found that climate change increased the intensity of Hurricane Harvey's rainfall by about 15 percent.

The other found that human-caused climate change probably bumped up the rainfall by at least 18 percent. According to both studies, climate change about tripled the odds of such a devastating storm.

It's well known that climate change can affect storms and other weather. Predictive models have already shown climate change could make future hurricanes stronger.

But a co-author of one of the new studies notes the degree to which climate change affects extreme precipitation is worse than expected.