OPINION: Hurricane Ida is further Proof the World Needs to Shift Attention to Climate Science


(Photo | Noaa/Reuters)

Satellite image showing Hurricane Ida moving from the Gulf of Mexico towards continental U.S.

On August 29th, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana as a category four storm. The storm wreaked havoc on Louisiana as it tore through the state with winds of 150 mph, causing flooding, tornadoes, and dangerous winds from Louisiana up to New England.

Dangerous and catastrophic weather events have been happening very frequently in recent times. Just this year, there have been many examples of climate disasters. First the Texas blizzard, then the record drought in Utah and California, then the wildfires and heat waves across the west coast, and now Hurricane Ida.

The reality is that in an ever-changing environment, more funds and resources need to be put into Climate Science to help address these natural disasters and to look for solutions to help mitigate or prevent future damage.

Drought in the South West

The population of the southwest has been growing at an exponential rate in recent years. According to the 2020 census, Arizona and Nevada are among the nation’s fastest-growing states with growth rates of 5.06% and the latter 5.23%. This growth rate has thrust the water supply issue in the region into the national spotlight.

Lake Mead is the primary source of water for Arizona, Nevada, and California. With an ever-growing population, the shrinking water level of Lake Mead is becoming more of an important issue. The water level of Lake Mead dropped to 1,071.57ft on June 9th, making it the lowest the lake has been since its creation in the ’30s. 

The southwest has been going through a long-lasting drought ever since the start of the 21st century. According to scientists, this drought has been arguably the worst in recorded history.

The result of this megadrought has been catastrophic for the southwest as it has caused issues such as widespread wildfires, depleting water levels in lakes all over, and dry land that severely damaged the agricultural industry.

Texas Winter Storm

This past February, Texas faced record low temperatures and faced a winter storm which left the state with lots of snow and very icy conditions. Much of the areas that received snow are areas that usually don’t receive any snowfall at all. The result was chaos all over the state. The ice and snow left highways impassable, caused traffic accidents, and left millions of Texans without power.

The unusual storm resulted in the death of hundreds of people. Government officials in Texas were ill-prepared for such a storm, having no plan in place. Snow in Texas has proven that the changing climate has left weather to be unpredictable.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

Perhaps the most alarming danger that has become more frequent in recent times is the formation of hurricanes and tropical storms. Since the year 2000, multiple hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S and have caused severe damage. 

Hurricane Katrina, which struck the U.S in 2005, made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. The storm resulted in approximately $170 billion worth of damage as it made its way north. The damage resulting from Hurricane Katrina is still felt in Louisiana today. It remains the most expensive climate disaster in U.S history.

Many other hurricanes have hit the U.S since 2005 and have caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Irma cost $74 billion, $131 billion, and $52 billion each.

Hurricane Ida is the most recent example of an unusual, damaging hurricane. The hurricane made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Louisiana this month and caused severe damage from Louisiana to Maine. The total death toll at the time of writing is 82.

Climate Science and The Future

The unusual and dangerous weather pattern that is currently happening should be setting off alarm bells in people’s minds. It has become impossible to ignore the dangers of climate change and what it means for both the human race and the environment. 

Science is the tool we can use to protect ourselves from further damage and protect our environment. 

Investing in climate initiatives now will save the country billions of dollars and protect future generations of Americans. Recent climate disasters have continued to remind us of the dangers of climate change. The need for global attention to global science has never been needed more.