May 31, 2016

Houston flooding is a perfect storm of climate change and bad urban planning

Houston, TX
USA
by
https://www.facebook.com/katie.herzog
,
Grist
Photo: U.S. Army National Guard/1st Lt. Zachary West, Handout via Reuters
Photo: U.S. Army National Guard/1st Lt. Zachary West, Handout via Reuters

Flooding in Texas killed six over Memorial Day weekend, bringing the death toll from the state’s unprecedented floods this year to at least 14...

Deluges like this aren’t exactly new to the area — downpours at this time last year brought a death toll of at least 30 — but as the climate warms, so does risk of flooding. In the past 30 years, reports the AP, the frequency of extreme downpours in the area has doubled.

“One likely cause,” Texas’ state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon tells Grist, “is the increase in ocean temperatures from the Gulf of Mexico and tropical Atlantic. That determines how much moisture is in the atmosphere.” As temperatures increase, so does rainfall