Hurricane Irma: "energy from ocean heat"

09/06/2017 - Hurricane Irma is threatening territories in the Caribbean. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) issued a statement by Anders Levermann - he's one of the research domain co-chairs at PIK, a Professor at the University of Potsdam and Adjunct Scientist at Columbia University's LDEO, New York.
Hurricane Irma: "energy from ocean heat"
Hurricane Irma. Photo: Satellite GOES infrared image, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

"Hurricane Irma just entered the top ten of the strongest Atlantic cyclones on record - we can only hope it will not make landfall in Cuba, the Dominican Republic or densely populated Florida. Even I as a climate scientist am startled to see another potentially devastating storm in this region so shortly after Harvey. Unfortunately, the physics are very clear: hurricanes get their destructive energy from ocean heat, and currently water surface temperatures in this region are very high. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas raise our planet's temperatures and provide the energy for ever stronger tropical storms. So climate change is not causing theses storms, but it can worsen their impacts. The question will also be how the US government will react if it has to handle two natural disasters - at the same time."

More information:
- National Hurricane Center of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)