Activists Already Blaming Global Warming For Intensifying Hurricane Irma

Navy photo/Handout via REUTERS

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Environmental activists are blaming global warming for intensifying Hurricane Irma as the massive storm barrels across the South Atlantic towards the Florida coast.

Like Hurricane Harvey, some activists are pointing to warm sea surface temperatures as the culprit behind Irma, which turned into a Category 5 hurricane Tuesday.

Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick pointed to “abnormally high” Caribbean Sea temperatures in advanced of Irma striking any islands.

Gleick’s claims were countered by atmospheric scientist Ryan Maue, who called out the environmental activist for fiddling with the color table on the chart to obscure near average water temperatures.

Some climate scientists and activists tried to link Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas in late August, to man-made warming, but such claims were largely shot down by scientists who looked at the data.

“So Hurricane Harvey developed in an environment in which temperatures were near normal in the atmosphere and slightly above normal in the Gulf,” University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass wrote in his blog. “The clear implication: global warming could not have contributed very much to the storm.”

Irma is heading for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico where it’s expected to bring up to 8 inches of rain and strong 60-mile-per-hour gusts of wind. Irma is expected to be off the Florida coast later this week.

Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have all declared states of emergencies ahead of Irma. Gleick, however, used the opportunity to declare a state of emergency because of global warming.

U.K. environmental writer and activist George Monbiot said Irma should be called “Hurricane Exxon,” and U.S. environmental activist Bill McKibben linked the Hurricane and other disasters to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

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