ICYMI: Climate Change Caused Record Temperatures in Gulf of Mexico. Floridians Are About to Pay the Price.

Washington, D.C. – As Republican climate denialism reaches a fever pitch, Hurricane Idalia is expected to rapidly intensify to a dangerous Category 3 as it approaches the Florida coastline. The storm will put millions at risk from deadly storm surge, heavy flooding and high winds. The day before it’s anticipated to make landfall, forecasters are having difficulty predicting the final strength of the storm. The reason? This summer’s extreme heat has caused the Gulf of Mexico to reach record temperatures, creating the perfect conditions for rapid intensification – the likes of which have rarely been encountered by researchers.

From the New York Times“In the warm waters of the Gulf, which set temperature records this summer, forecasters expect Idalia to undergo a process known as rapid intensification on Tuesday.”

From NBC News“Warmer-than-usual water is a key ingredient in the formation and development of storms. In recent weeks, sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico have climbed to record levels.”

From CNN“ It’s just one of the ways experts say the climate crisis is making hurricanes more dangerous, as warmer waters allow for storms to strengthen quicker. More than 90% of warming around the globe over the past 50 years has taken place in the oceans,”

From the Washington Post“If Idalia’s winds increase by at least 35 mph in 24 hours, the storm would become one of a growing number in recent years to have met the criteria for rapid intensification, in part due to human-caused climate change.”

From Axios: “The high ocean temperatures are a clear connection between the storm’s rapid intensification and human-caused climate change,”

From The Guardian‘“The stage is set for Idalia to rapidly intensify before landfall,’ specialist Eric Blake wrote in a morning update. ‘Combined with extremely warm and deep waters the hurricane will be traversing … confidence is increasing in an extremely dangerous major hurricane making landfall Wednesday along the west coast or Big Bend region of Florida.”’

From USA Today“These recent rapid intensification events have also been recently linked to climate change, which tends to create new normals that forecasters may struggle to get comfortable with.”

From the Wall Street Journal“Hurricane intensity–a measure of wind speed–has risen over the past 20 years. Eight of the 10 most active years since 1950 have occurred since the mid-1990s. The number of major hurricanes–those rated Category 3 and higher–has also increased.”