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A blunt warning

The message and advice in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - rising temperatures will lead to more catastrophes like Katrina.    We are warned, wherever we might live.   It is, after all, only a small planet we all inhabit.

"Warming global temperatures have doubled the risk of "Katrina magnitude events," says a new study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

By analyzing the dramatic and sudden increase in water levels—or storm surges—which occur as a result of fierce hurricane winds and low central air pressure, researchers have found that even a 'statistically downcast' estimate of a 1.8°F increase in global average surface temperatures would result in a two-fold to seven-fold increase in the risk of these devastating events.

The latest climate projections, however, are far more dramatic with estimates falling between 3.2°F and 7.2°F for global temperature increase by 2100.

“Our study shows that extreme (storm) surges become more frequent in a warmer climate, and that the relative change in frequency is much more pronounced for the most extreme events,” said lead author Aslak Grinsted, a climate researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

"Storm surges," writes Climate Central's Andrew Freedman, "are hurricanes’ greatest killer, a point that was driven home again just last year, when Hurricane Sandy killed at least 72, mainly along the coast of New Jersey and New York."

Similarly, when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, water levels along some parts of the shoreline rose as high as 28 feet above the astronomical tide level, leveling entire communities and contributing to the death of more than 2,000 people"


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