Chapter Two Excerpt: Reap the Whirlwind

Another excerpt from Hell and High Water paperback edition (now available on Amazon):

I don't see any reason why the power of hurricanes wouldn't continue to increase over the next 100 to 200 years.

- Kerry Emanuel, MIT atmospheric scientist, 2006

On our current warming trend, four superhurricanes - category 4 or stronger - a year in the North Atlantic is likely to become the norm 20 years from now.

- Judith Curry, Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist, 2006

Only a quarter of Atlantic hurricanes make U.S. landfall, and while there is no question that the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes is rising, where they will actually go any given year is somewhat random.

That said, the Gulf of Mexico is going to get warmer and warmer, as is the Atlantic Ocean, and so hurricanes that enter the Gulf are likely to start out and end up far more destructive than usual. I would not bet that the Mississippi Gulf Coast will get hit by a super - hurricane in any particular year, but I would certainly plan on it being hit again sometime over the next ten years; I wouldn't be surprised if it were hit by more than one.

Coastal dwellers from Houston to Miami are now playing Russian roulette with maybe two bullets in the gun chamber each year. In a couple of decades, it may be three bullets.

Some argue that the recent jump in severe hurricanes was caused by a rise in sea - surface temperatures that is just part of a natural cycle. That position is scientifically untenable, which is why most of the people who advance it are not global - warming researchers. We'll see why the natural - cycles argument will no doubt prove to be "largely false," as MIT's Kerry Emanuel said in 2006. Hurricane seasons with four or more super - hurricanes-those with sustained wind speeds of 131 mph or more-will soon become the norm….

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