In August 2016, Louisiana was hit with prolonged rainfall, causing catastrophic flooding in the southern parts of the state. The devastation resulted in the submersion of thousands of businesses and homes and the loss of thirteen lives. It was recorded that over seven trillion gallons of water fell throughout the course of eight days. Amanda Hoover of the Christian Science Monitor reported on research that leading organizations have conducted following the aftermath of the flooding.
These scientists discovered one of the first connections between climate change and how specific weather disasters can result from it. The study involved recreating atmospheric conditions, with greenhouse gases in mind, from Louisiana in 1900 and today and comparing the two environments. Karen van der Wiel, study leader, found that the probability of the heavy downpour occurring increased by “at least 40 percent, probably doubled, and that is because of climate change.”
Thus, we find ourselves witnessing the unfortunate consequences of our effects on the climate. Greenhouse gas emission, an issue caused by humans, is one of the leading sources of global warming. Whether it be electricity, transportation, fossil fuels, or one of the many other producers of greenhouse gases, we only have ourselves to blame for its negative effects on the Earth. In an article she wrote for the New York Times, Heidi Cullen of Climate Central stated, “Climate change can no longer be viewed as a distant threat that may disrupt the lives of our grandchildren, but one that may be singled out as a factor, possibly a critical factor, in the storm that flooded your house last week.”
While we cannot say that the Louisiana flooding was a direct result of human activity, we can be confident in saying that it would have been much less likely to happen had greenhouse gases and climate change not been such an issue. Thirteen lives were lost in Louisiana, and it is quite possible that number could increase next time if we don’t stop the ways in which we are negatively affecting our atmosphere.