Study says yes, but experts are skeptical
Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast with a fury we have seen only a handful of times in history. And because of a levee breach in New Orleans, that city was devastated.
Could it happen again? That was the question a new study was looking to find an answer to. And the answer was disturbing.
It was a study led by a European climatologist, and the conclusion it came to was that we could see storms like Katrina strike every two years because of climate change. Former National Hurricane center Director Bill Read told KTRH he's not buying it.
“The studies I have seen say the frequency of storms may decline but the strength of the storms might be higher,” Read said.
Texas State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told KTRH that he has a problem with studies comparing future storms to Katrina.
“That was a levee failure caused by poor design of storm safety systems,” Nielsen-Gammon said, adding the levee didn’t break because of global warming.”
Nielsen-Gammon said, “Katrina started out being a poster child for climate change, but we discovered it was the poster child for engineering design and implementation.”
Anthony Yanez of our television partner, Local 2, said he’s not convinced of the study’s conclusions, either.
“Storm surge is determine by the size of the storm, speed, fetch and how long it spends over water, not by climate change” Yanez said.
So should we be worried that we'll see storms like Katrina five times a decade? Read says no.
“The idea of a storm like Katrina every two years sounds a little high to me,” Read stated.
Critics have called the study incomplete because it only used six cities as reference points, including Galveston.