A flooded street near the Malecon in Havana, on September 10, 2017.
/ AFP / YAMIL LAGE
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Many climate scientists are convinced that megastorms Harvey and Irma, which left scores dead and caused massive economic losses, were boosted by global warming, but hesitate to say so in as many words.To begin with, major tropical storms – Category 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, keyed to wind speed – are rare compared to heat waves, drought or intense rainfall.Translation: Whether it's heat waves or cyclones, discerning the fingerprint of human influence depends on being able to distinguish between the "noise" of natural fluctuations in weather and the patterns caused by man-made global warming.Perhaps the strongest case that global warming has already exerted an influence on superstorms comes from Jim Kossin, a scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Research.In a 2014 study that went unnoticed in the media but sent shock waves among his fellow hurricane experts, Kossin presented ironclad evidence that all tropical cyclones around the world have been steadily drifting poleward for at least 30 years, at the rate of 50 to 60 kilometers per decade.
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