Tropical storm Harvey is by any standard off the scale. Some parts of Texas have received in just over a week the rainfall they would normally expect in an entire year, and the storm is described as generating as much rain as would normally be seen only once in over 1,000 years.
Exceptional as it is, Harvey is not a direct consequence of climate change, in the judgement of one leading climate scientist, Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany.
However, Professor Rahmstorf couples his clear rebuttal that the warming climate triggered Harvey with a significant qualification. The increased heat accumulating in the atmosphere, he says, has almost certainly intensified the storm’s destructiveness, in line with other evidence suggesting a link between extreme weather and the human influence on the climate.