It’s Not Too Late: How natural disasters affect climate change

ABC News’ chief meteorologist, Ginger Zee, looks at the connection between climate change and devastating natural disasters.
8:14 | 09/11/20

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Transcript for It’s Not Too Late: How natural disasters affect climate change
Officials and several states impacted by those devastating wildfires are linking the devastation to climate change but what does the science say. Archie Anderson tells us in this week's it's not too late. Oh. Hi comes in dizzy and it's not too late I am obviously not in the basement but made it out in the fire near to the Eldorado fire in Southern California you can see the smoke. Filled mountainside at a hot spots that could send me. Mother nature's care seen in the Santa Ana winds. And this is just one of good natural disasters I've mentioned in the last couple of weeks of course we have the rate shell. With more than a 130 mile per hour winds in Iowa. We had. Wore us. That Louisiana southwest 'cause getting slammed by a category four hurricane. And here now in California we have well surpassed the twenty teen record number of acreage burned. And this year the most interesting failure ever recorded and we are just reaching peak. Fire season. So the wildfires aplenty we had a nightmare evacuation. Earlier this week an organ. He had Washington State with more than 330000. Acres burned in less than 24 hours everything. Close. It everything. The question I get asked a lot why aren't you connecting that the climate change why aren't you talking about land management help. When you're in Washington. We are all in this thing through. Of cataclysmic fire. And the reason we're in the thing through. Because McGrath is so dry with temperatures still hot loser still have. And neither condition bitter exacerbated by the changing climate that we are suffering. Let's talk about it now because at least whipped wildfires the connection to climate change isn't that Barkley. We have a longer period of temperatures able to drive the conditions out even further. So it's not that we're NASA is seeing more fires is that these fires are able to burn at a larger. Size was more this fox. And it's not just wild fires we are already passed a letter heat in Atlantic hurricane names. Farther into the alphabet and we've ever been before this early in the season. The same time the winning we measure tropical storms has advanced so some researchers point out that identifying trends really depends on how far vacuum. What most climate scientists will agree on all of that most of these extremes are happening closer together and for longer periods of time. We're also seeing a tendency flirt swarms to intensify. Our rapidly. Which is exactly what we saw happen with Laura and Michael. And Lawrence and Harvey and this is one thing clear signals associated read I'm. Jennifer Francis has something new theory that connects climate change too extreme events with the jets street. Search out with the basics the polls are Cole the leader hot that big difference in temperature. Create an imbalance that hotter air gonna move toward the colder air in an effort to equal. This temperature gradient is divided by something called the jet stream if this fast column and looming airway up in the atmosphere. Senators data shows that as the polls alarm the temperature gradient is not as strong so that leaves the jets would be weaker. More movable and then get stuck attack. He arrogance is starting to pile up. Suggesting though what we expect to see happen is in fact happening. The westerly. West to east winds are suggesting which is the predominant wind direction. Are starting to slow down. And it because that jet stream is tending to. Take one of these big northward swings and stay in one place or western states. And then downstream of that. We get just the opposite not heartland are seeing all be well flyers out in California because area has experience persistent. Drought and hot conditions that means while it's. Other experts say the climate change is impacting extreme weather to some extent. But there just isn't enough evidence yet to say exactly how or how much. What I can't tell you is it's not a theory that has been judged as. Strong evidence for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or other expert assessments. But there's really not at this point. Strong evidence. We're long term trends and tropical cyclones were whiter hurricanes in the Atlantic. That can be attributed. To greenhouse gases. Disney it has no effect it just means we're not able to detect an hour hasn't emerged yet from the background natural variability. Whether this pass to do with the jetstream being stuck weaker blocking pattern setting up or not it's. This fire was caused by gender appeal party are certainly things that we as humans can do to make an mitigate these types of storms and to plan for future. When we got natural disasters like this we have to think about building we have to think about where we build and how we built the sustainable. Perm you both surfaces that can attempt to mitigate flooding and something like Harvey. One thing that's really important it is. The whole system is set up to reward people for not being in sure there is no incentive currently. Before our artists you perform proper lane he's planning and Sarah this article only gets worse and worse. And penis revealing. And it's unfair for people he would think if England can solve. As emergency managers can assure us they're happening more and definitely costing. There is we know. Right here in which we can eat really significant all of its future. A little bit flat Gary. We aren't seeing an increasing impact and especially the heat related to that Baxter across the country in parts of Texas and parts Louisiana north and South Carolina flooding so regular would be that people are evil to get themselves are covered and it or it can't and so we're seeing this late. Compounding. Of vulnerabilities. In will be a country. Part of this is the idea that one extreme weather event is. Out of our control the aftermath of what we call the disaster. Is shaped by our decisions and policies. Dean is disaster. Aren't holding a rally at all over the country are not equitable fairer and that we do about them or at least. Significant me you know my entire Montana says that for every one dollar the federal government spends on preparing before a storm. They save six dollars in response and recovery. So it's a no brainer. You know not personal the tape where Americans live in this country. But I also think if you wanna live on somebody's are vulnerable a lot of our either you know there at Goucher you wanna live down and are hilarious. Or urge. You know along the coast you can do that the donors are our government dumb bell yeah. Long who left FEMA last year says that this country relies too much on tax Payer money to recover instead of having insurance or making good planning decisions before it disaster hits. Really the good news is. Resolve all the scientific issues should be better prepared. I'm if you live on the Gulf Coast gets what you're in the hurricanes' blue and you better be prepared we know San Francisco it's earthquakes. Museum against hurricane. Midwest at tornadoes the west gets fires a number and to be better prepared at about all you need to know. So even if the atmosphere starts to change in the jet stream changes because of what we've done and the different difference and that temperature gradient from the pulpit he later. We can make those changes ourselves and that's looking control right now right in our future. At trumps. Out. The science is really so fascinating our thanks to ginger for.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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