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The Philadelphia Jewish Voice
October 2005 > Katrina

A is for Andrew; K is for Katrina

Most scientists are in agreements that the Earth's climate has warmed at least in part as a result of human activity. The Earth's weather patterns operate under enormous inertia. Only now after decades of neglect are we beginning to truly to appreciate the magnitude of the crisis. In fact, even if we were to immediately stop producing any greenhouse gases, the processes already underway might continue to raise global temperatures for years to come. 

The President calls himself "A good steward of the land", but does he live up to our notions of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world)? One of the first items on George W. Bush's agenda when he took office was to back out of the Kyoto protocols on global warming that had been spear-headed by his predecessor Bill Clinton. The United States is responsible for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emission, so without our participation the Kyoto protocol cannot be as effective as designed. 

Now, for the first time water temperatures of 90 degrees were recorded in the Gulf of Mexico. The warm air and water patterns are fertile grounds for the creation of hurricanes. There have always been hurricanes, so we will never be able to say for certain that a particular hurricane is due to a certain pollution policy. However, as we have seen, warm water will increase both the number and strength of hurricanes. 

Hurricane names are assigned alphabetically from lists of names, alternating male and female, one list for each Ocean region. Remember Hurricane Andrew? It occurred about the same time of year as Hurricane Katrina which destroyed New Orleans. 

A is for Andrew, the first tropical storm of the 1992 season.

K is for Katrina, the eleventh tropical storm of the 2005 season.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms of 2005




Cat. 4

Cat. 4




Cat. 1


Cat. 5


Cat. 3

Cat. 2

Cat. 2

Cat. 1

Cat. 5





As I write, the Gulf of Mexico has again been battered by a hurricane, Hurricane Rita: The seventeenth hurricane of the season.

In the North Atlantic, there are 21 names in the list. Apparently, meteorologists did not think they would ever have need to come up with names starting with Q, U, V, Y or Z, as they do in the Pacific. That leaves only four names left this year, and the hurricane season is barely half over! At this rate we may run out of names and be forced to resort to Greek letters.

Obviously some scientists and many politicians and businesspeople cannot see past their self-interest to convince themselves of the reality of global warming. They cling to hope that the systematic warming of the planet might be some strange coincidence that will cure itself without any effort on our part. 

Does this administration lives in a Fantasy World where everything is free? We can fight a war without a draft, rebuild a city while eliminating the estate tax, and avoid global warming without protecting the environment.

By the time global warming is so self-evident that even this self-blinded administration will see it clearly, one wonders if it will not be too late to do anything about it.