Secretary of State, John Kerry, created quite a buzz during his visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday when he announced that climate change is as big a threat to the world as terrorism or poverty. According to CNN, Kerry referred to climate change as "the greatest challenge of our generation."
Kerry’s words surely made an impact on a nation where the frequency of cyclones was 28 times greater in 2012 than it was in 2002. But Indonesia isn’t the only place where extreme weather events have taken their toll. The Eastern and Gulf coasts of the United States have had their share of extreme weather, not the least of which was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which lasted for eight days and killed 1,833 people.
But can we blame these extreme weather events on climate change, and if so, is that climate change really caused by man? John Kerry isn’t the only one who thinks so.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has been studying Anthropogenic warming in relation to hurricanes for some time now. Known to be one of the most conservative institutions studying the effects of human activities on climate, NOAA concludes that over the next century:
* Anthropogenic warming will likely cause hurricanes globally to be more intense.
* Anthropogenic warming will lead to an increase in the numbers of very intense hurricanes.
* Anthropogenic warming will likely cause hurricanes to have substantially higher rainfall rates.
With this winter’s polar vortex that continues to slam the U.S., hurricanes aren’t the only weather phenomena on peoples’ minds. Low temperature records that had stood for more than a century have been shattered in parts of the United States, and many places got more snow in one storm than they typically get in an entire season.
If you’re finding it difficult to believe how weather could be more devastating than war, just ask the people of Indonesia. Or John Kerry.