In late 2019, the tropical Storm Imelda drenched Texas in under 40 inches of rain, enough to make it the fifth wettest recorded tropical cyclone to strike the lower 48 states. Fueled by copious moisture from a warm Gulf of Mexico, the slow-moving Imelda’s flooding wreaked havoc over various schools, homes, and businesses in the Dallas area.
This month marks the 2-year anniversary that the Imelda storm destroyed Preston Hollow and Dallas homes. And while many have tried to forget about the aftermath, Dallas’ recent weather is forcing many locals to reminisce. Still facing various severe storms to this day, students wonder if they’ll encounter another life-threatening storm.
What do the professionals have to say? Well, there’s no easy answer, says Joao Teixeira, co-director of the Center for Climate Sciences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Within the scientific community it’s a relatively well-accepted fact that as global temperatures increase, extreme precipitation will very likely increase as well,” he said. “Beyond that, we’re still learning.”
So, while there’s not a definite consensus on the matter, evidence from recent years linking extreme weather with climate change continues to emerge. Data from satellites, aircraft, ground measurements and climate model projections are increasingly drawing connections.
NASA’s environmental staff said, “Adding fossil fuel emissions to Earth’s atmosphere increases its temperature, which adds more energy to the atmosphere, supercharging it like an athlete on steroids. And just as it’s difficult to quantify how much of that athlete’s performance improvement is due to steroid use, so too it’s difficult to say whether extreme weather events are definitively due to a warmer atmosphere.”
The more fuel emitted into the local atmosphere – the more climate changes that specific area has, leading to more storms.
For example, according to the Texas Directory, Dallas ranks third in the most populated city in the state. With an estimate of about 1,304,379, most of which drive, it’s no wonder Dallas has been receiving crazy temperatures and unpredictable storms. The data from the U.S Energy information Administration points to Texas as the number 1 contributor to fossil fuel emissions, followed by Louisiana and Florida. If both states ranked below Texas have been characterized by their severe storms, then this state’s incoming weather holds no good luck for its locals.
By 2100, NASA predicts that Texas, especially areas near Austin, Galveston, and Dallas, will become hotspot for tropical storms and other weather. But there’s still time to adapt this prediction. Fixing an environmental problem requires patience and dedication, but it is not impossible.
According to “New York Times” says, “to stop global warming, we’ll need to zero out greenhouse gas emissions from billions of different sources worldwide: every coal plant, every steel mill, every car and truck on highways.”
Stopping multimillion companies is such an enormous task that it can be tough to figure out where to begin. So, it’s better to start small and move on up.
Roughly half of Texas’ emissions come from power plants that generate the electricity used for lights, air-conditioners and factories. These power plants still burn coal, natural gas or oil, producing carbon dioxide that heats the planet. Cleaning up these power plants would significantly cut Texas’ emissions.
Once local, or state, power plants get greener, the next step is to support the economy to run on clean electricity instead of burning fossil fuels.
Some ways to help is by replacing cars that run on gasoline with electric vehicles charged by low-carbon grids or substituting gas-burning furnaces with electric heat pumps. This will take out the steel mills that burn coal and force the shift to electric furnaces that melt scrap.
These daunting tasks of “greening” everything becomes easier if everyone is curbing energy use at the same time. That could entail making Texas cities less dependent on cars, upgrading home insulation and boosting energy-efficiency in factories. And while it’ll be a hard task to convince everyone to get on board, it’s a basic road map to zero out emissions. Scientists agree these are the steps needed to be taken to keep the world from heating up endlessly.