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飓风哈维的来临并非一个意外

更新时间:2017-8-29 22:00:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Hurricane Harvey Was No Surprise
飓风哈维的来临并非一个意外

Stanford, Calif. — On Sunday, amid the unfolding disaster in Texas, President Trump tweeted his amazement that Hurricane Harvey was producing unprecedented rainfall and flooding. He shouldn’t have been surprised.

加州斯坦福——周日,在德克萨斯州发生灾难之际,特朗普总统通过一则推文,对引发前所未有的降雨和洪水的飓风哈维(Hurricane Harvey)表示震惊。他本不该感到惊讶。

Climate science has repeatedly shown that global warming is increasing the odds of extreme precipitation and storm surge flooding. Refusing to acknowledge this impairs our ability to prepare for future extreme weather and endangers American lives and property.

气候科学已反复表明,全球变暖会让极端降雨和风暴潮洪水的发生概率有所增加。拒绝承认这一点,会损害我们为应对未来的极端天气做准备的能力,危及美国人的生命财产安全。

The storm has already caused tremendous damage in Houston and the surrounding region, including at least five deaths. And because it is likely to remain stalled along the Gulf Coast, more destruction seems a certainty.

这场风暴已经给休斯顿及其周边地区带来巨大损失,其中包括至少导致5人丧生。此外,由于风暴可能继续在墨西哥湾沿岸肆虐,它很可能会造成更大的破坏。

Although seas have risen and warmed, and the atmosphere now holds more moisture, we can’t yet draw definitive conclusions about the influence of climate change on Hurricane Harvey. Hurricanes are complex events, and the role of historical warming in their development continues to be studied. But it is well established that global warming is already influencing many kinds of extremes, both in the United States and around the world, and it is critical to acknowledge this reality as we prepare for the future.

尽管海平面已经上涨,海水的温度也有所上升,现在的空气也变得更加潮湿,但我们还不能就气候变化对飓风哈维的影响得出明确的结论。飓风是颇为复杂的事件,既往的全球变暖在其形成过程中所扮演的角色仍有待研究。但公认的是,在美国乃至世界各地,很多种极端天气都受到全球变暖的影响;在我们为未来做准备之际,承认这一现实可谓至关重要。

In particular, recent research shows that weather that falls outside of our historical experience is becoming more likely. For example, my colleagues and I recently found that global warming has already increased the odds of record-setting heat waves across more than 80 percent of the planet where we have reliable observations, and influenced record-setting wet and dry events across half that area.

尤其值得一提的是,最近的一些研究表明,不在我们的历史经验之内的天气状况出现的可能性正在增加。例如,我和同事们最近发现,在我们进行过可靠观测的全球80%的地方,全球变暖已经让创纪录热浪的出现概率有所提高,它还是其中半数地区创记录干湿事件的影响因素。

Other studies show a similar influence from global warming, including the extreme rainfall that caused floods on the central Gulf Coast last year. There is now so much evidence of increasing extremes that anyone who understands the science — or trusts the scientists in their government doing the research — should expect that records will continue to be broken.

另外一些研究显示了源自全球变暖的类似影响,其中包括去年在墨西哥湾中部引发洪水的极端降雨。眼下有太多关于极端天气事件日益增多的证据,任何人只要了解相关科学——或者信任本国政府中从事相关研究的科学家——就应该知道,记录还会不断被打破。

Incorporating this scientific understanding into federal, state and local decision-making can help prepare for extreme events. For decades, the default approach has been to assume a “stationary” climate — one in which the odds of extremes have remained unchanged. But because global warming is increasing those odds, being resilient and prepared means incorporating the changing probabilities into planning, design and operation decisions.

把这些科学发现融入联邦、州级和地方决策中有助于为极端事件做准备。几十年来,人们一直认为气候是“稳定”的,极端天气事件发生的几率是不变的。但是,由于全球变暖在增加那些几率,要想具有适应能力,做好准备,就必须把不断变化的可能性融入规划、设计和运营决策中。

Unfortunately, President Trump is moving America in the opposite direction. In fact, his administration recently announced a rollback of infrastructure regulations including an Obama-era requirement to consider climate change and sea-level rise when building roads, bridges and pipelines with federal money.

不幸的是,特朗普总统正在让美国走向相反的方向。实际上,前不久,他的政府宣布恢复原来对基础设施的规定,包括撤销奥巴马时代的一个要求:在使用联邦资金修建道路、桥梁和管道时,要考虑气候变化和海平面上升的因素。

Refusing to account for climate change is an expensive proposition. We won’t know the full costs of Hurricane Harvey for some time. But extreme weather causes billions of dollars of damage in the United States each year. The number of these events and their costs have been increasing, with the toll over the last decade exceeding $250 billion. And that number doesn’t include the full humanitarian and ecological destruction left in their wake.

拒绝考虑气候变化是一项昂贵的主张。我们暂时还不知道哈维飓风造成的全部损失。但是,极端天气每年给美国造成上百亿美元的损失。这些事件的频率和代价在不断升高,过去十年里的总损失超过2500亿美元。而且这个数字不包括事件造成的全部人道主义损失和生态破坏。

The value and vulnerability of the infrastructure in harm’s way clearly contribute to the upward trend in disaster losses. However, it is also clear that the odds of events like extreme rainfall, storm surge flooding and severe heat have also been increasing because of global warming, increasing the odds of catastrophic damage. Ignoring this reality is costly.

灾难降临时基础设施的价值和脆弱性显然是导致灾难损失呈现上升趋势的一个因素。不过,极端降雨、风暴潮洪水和极度炎热等事件的发生概率显然也在因为全球变暖而增加,提高了灾难性破坏的几率。无视这个事实将会付出惨重代价。

As Roger-Mark De Souza of the Wilson Center and my Stanford colleagues Chris Field, Katharine Mach and Alice Hill pointed out last week, coastal communities are already incorporating climate information into their planning and are realizing financial savings. They are incorporating social media into early-warning and response systems, improving the coordination of evacuation decisions, placing more emphasis on vulnerabilities caused by social and economic inequality and elevating structures within floodplains. Other actions that would require state or federal coordination include revising the National Flood Insurance Program to catch up with the changing risk profile, and relocating communities that face acute threats.

正如上周威尔逊中心(Wilson Center)的罗杰-马克·德苏扎(Roger-Mark De Souza)以及斯坦福大学我的同事克里斯·菲尔德(Chris Field)、凯瑟琳·马赫(Katharine Mach)和爱丽丝·希尔(Alice Hill)指出的,沿海社区已将气候信息融入自己的规划之中,从而在财务上获得好处。他们正将社交媒体纳入早期预警和反应系统中,改进撤离决策的协作,更注重社会和经济不平等导致的脆弱,并将洪泛区的建筑放在更高的位置上。其他需要州级或联邦政府协作的行动包括修订《国家洪水保险计划》(National Flood Insurance Program),以适应不断变化的风险情况,重新安置面临紧急威胁的社区。

Being smart about managing exposure and vulnerability is critical to reducing risks. But doing so requires acknowledging that global warming is happening, that humans are the primary cause and that the odds of catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey are increasing.

明智地处理对风险的暴露和脆弱性对于减少风险非常重要。但是,要做到这一点,就需要承认全球变暖正在发生,人类活动是主要原因,哈维飓风这类灾难发生的概率在不断上升。

Instead, President Trump, who is moving to unravel President Obama’s climate change agenda, recently disbanded a federal advisory panel on climate change and proposed a budget that slashes both climate research and support for the agencies that Americans rely on for understanding, forecasting and preparing for climate and weather disasters.

相反,特朗普总统正在瓦解奥巴马总统的气候变化日程,他前不久解散了一个联邦气候变化咨询委员会,他还提议削减用于气候研究以及支持相关机构的预算,而美国人依靠那些机构了解、预测气候和天气灾难,并为之做准备。

Refusing to acknowledge the changing odds of extremes means that we will be unprepared for events that fall outside of our experience. Denying climate science is not just a political statement. It also puts American lives and property at risk.

拒绝承认极端天气发生的几率在变化意味着我们将对自己经验之外的事件毫无准备。否定气候科学不只是一项政治宣言。它也将美国人的生命和财产置于风险之中。

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