The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is already the worst this country has seen, and we're barely halfway through it. But this is what climate scientists predicted: As global temperatures continue to rise, we will continue to see bigger, more destructive storms.
The reason behind this comes down to one thing: The air can hold 7% more water with every degree Celsius that the temperature increases. It's not that climate change is causing more storms; it's causing existing storms to become major ones.
As Christopher Joyce put it from the National Public Radio, "Heat is the fuel that takes garden-variety storms and supercharges them."
The data comes from a widely-accepted physical law called the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, which was established centuries ago before climate change became a politicized issue.
Warmer oceans also feed hurricanes by giving them strength. One study looked at hurricanes over the course of two decades and found that storms today reach Category 3 wind speeds nine hours faster than they did in the 1980s.
Now more than ever, it's important to recognize what we're doing to contribute to climate change and work toward living a greener lifestyle. At UCLA Transportation, we promote alternative commute modes in order to reduce carbon emissions and our overall footprint.
You don't have to make a monumental change. Start small. Recycle paper, plastic and aluminum. Walk to the store instead of driving. Maybe bike to work one day a week, or month. Explore the options you have to create more sustainable habits. Individual events have led to climate change, so individual events can also fight it.