Friday hurricane and climate change numbers

September 8, 2017 5:30 am

Image: Adobe Stock

With apologies to the Fitzsimon File (which, happily, returns next week…)

2.0—Degrees Fahrenheit that global temperatures have risen since the 19th Century (National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s “Global Climate Change” website)

35—Number of years in which most of the temperature increase has occurred (Ibid.)

0.302—Degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature of the top 700 meters of the Earth’s oceans have risen since 1969 (Ibid.)

8—Amount in inches that the global oceans have risen in the past century (the rate has doubled during the last two decades) (Ibid.)

1950—The year since which data in the United States reflect a significant increase in record high temperature readings and intense rainfall events, as well as a significant decrease in record low temperature readings (Ibid.)

95—Percentage probability that the current global warming trend is the result of human activity (Ibid.)

30—Percentage by which the acidity of ocean surface waters have increased since the Industrial Revolution – a phenomenon directly attributable to human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and its absorption by the oceans (Ibid.)

2016—The hottest year on record (

2.7 to 7.2—Degrees Fahrenheit above average of the Gulf of Mexico surface waters that fueled the rapid development of Hurricane Harvey (“Did Climate Change Intensify Hurricane Harvey?” – The Atlantic, August 27, 2017)

2—Number of one-in-500-year superstorms to impact the Houston area in the past 16 years (“Climate change made every stage of Hurricane Harvey more horrific” by Dr. Joe Romm, Think Progress, August 28, 2017)

4—Number of one-in-100-year rainstorms to affect the same area since 2015 (Ibid.)

30—Percentage of total rainfall emanating from intense hurricanes that may be attributable to human-induced climate warming (Ibid.)

5—Category of Irma on 1-to-5 Hurricane scale (“Hurricane Irma’s staggering power in numbers” —

61—The number of consecutive hours Hurricane Irma had spent as a Category 5 hurricane, as of 9 pm E.T. yesterday, the longest such period on record (Ibid.)

185—Speed in miles per hour of the maximum sustained winds that directly pummeled the islands of Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and other Leeward Islands late Tuesday (Ibid.)

193.424—Top qualifying speed in miles per hour for May, 2017 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway by driver Kevin Harvick (

4.8 billion—Dollar impact that Hurricane Matthew had on North Carolina in 2016 (“NC leaders receive update on state’s recovery after Hurricane Matthew,”, July 21, 2017)

37.5—Percentage of that amount that the state has received in federal relief (Ibid.)

2—Days until winds from Irma could begin to reach North Carolina (

2—Number of bills introduced in the 2017 General Assembly that included the words “climate change” (

0—Number of those bills that legislative leaders even assigned to a substantive committee (Ibid.)

100—Percentage chance that climate change threatens human security in virtually every country (

0—Chance that, even if all the calculations and predictions about climate change are somehow wrong, taking strong action to reduce carbon pollution, stop deforestation, limit massive confined animal feeding operations and dramatically enhance public investments to build a more resilient and sustainable societal infrastructure would have any significant negative impact on human wellbeing. (Common sense).

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Rob Schofield
Rob Schofield

NC Newsline Editor Rob Schofield oversees day-to-day newsroom operations, authors and voices regular commentaries, and hosts the 'News & Views' weekly radio show/podcast.