Speed Reads

hurricane harvey

Psychologists say even the devastation of Harvey won't change made-up minds about climate change

Scientists claim the effects of man-made climate change will worsen America's hurricane seasons, but psychologists warn that even the devastation of Harvey won't change already made-up minds, Axios reports. "We have to get out of that emotional loop we're in," said psychosocial researcher Renee Lertzman. "Unless we actually talk about the trauma and anxiety about what it means to come to terms with our way of life, then something like Harvey won't have any effect."

While Harvey likely would have been a historic storm regardless of climate change, "there are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding," The Guardian reports. Even with Houston years away from a full recovery, people's preconceived notions and short attention spans could prevent major preventative policy changes.

The weeks after a major storm, though, are "the only time people pay attention," Adam Sobel, the director of an extreme weather initiative at Columbia University, told Axios. "People say don't politicize it. That's ridiculous. Frankly, it's politicized from the moment it happened."

And the clock is ticking. Pennsylvania State University professor of meteorology David Titley added: "Expect #HarveyFlood record will be broken in five, 15, 25 years from now — sooner rather than later."

On Tuesday, Hurricane Irma strengthened to a Category 5 storm as it brews near the Caribbean. It is projected to possibly hit Florida early Sunday.