I don't think anyone questions the fact that the climate continually changes through cycles over time, but the argument is over its cause. And the argument that the science is settled and the consensus is final is bogus because science is not a consensus subject. Facing the facts, we find that there are a large number of scientists who don't buy the hype of the Left and none is more distinguished than Dr. Roy Spencer, the Senior Research Scientist on Climate at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr. Spencer previously served as a Senior Scientist on Climatology with NASA.
He put out a very informative article on his blog recently about the Hurricane Harvey situation and how the chief cause lies in the actual location of Houston itself. Houston is low with no land elevation above fifty feet and is near the Gulf of Mexico, a cauldron for stoking tropical storms into major hurricanes due to its high water temperature. Add to that the shallow nature of the body of water itself, particularly as it nears land, and heavy winds blowing large waves toward shore have nowhere to go but up. The Atlantic has a lot of capacity to absorb the waves due to its depth and breadth but not the Gulf of Mexico, a body of warm water nearly surrounded by land from the southern tip of Florida all the way to the Yucatan Peninsula.
Some say that this storm is a once in five hundred year event, yet Dr. Spencer points out that we've only been keeping good rainfall records for about a century. Houston has flooded seriously many times before and at the close of this commentary you'll find a picture of a flooded downtown by a similar storm in 1935.
It's important to note that the amount of rain being dropped by what was once Hurricane Harvey is no greater than any tropical system under similar circumstances. The main problem is the system is blocked by high pressure systems on both sides which have limited its movement. This has afforded the storm the opportunity to draw in and drop massive amounts of water as it spins the heavy laden clouds inland as the storm moves ever so slightly. But even if the the ultimate rainfall volume approach the feared fifty inch amount, a record for the area, it's only half the amount dropped over Eastern Cuba by a similar situation not too many years ago.
No, it's not man made global warming, or climate change if you prefer, but man does have an adverse relationship to what is happening by his development patterns. This low area with streams, rivers and bayous abounding now has twenty times the population it had during the flood of 1935. When we cover the earth with concrete and macadam of the massive scale of Houston, it limits the amount of earth available to absorb the rain. Couple that with the fact that the natural water flow from all of this development generally heads toward downtown. So, with the roadways and drainage patterns established, a fifty inch rainfall event would naturally spell disaster.
Living in a low and swampy area myself, one that is subject to flooding with a heavy rainstorm and also under development pressure currently, I can imagine such a disaster right here in North Florida should over development ultimately take place here. A fifty inch rain in that situation would probably outpace even Houston is damage and suffering.
Will we use our God-given brainpower to wake up to the reality of using the lay of the land according to what makes good sense? Sadly, we probably won't, and if we don't Houston will grow continually and once again somewhere down the road see something similar again. Of course, by that time Florida will be so heavily populated that such an event would likely make the Sunshine State uninhabitable for generations as well. I pray that we wake up to reality and change our approach.
Here's the 1935 picture courtesy of www.drroyspencer.com