Texas Tech University

Trump Faces First Big Disaster Test

Scott Waldman and Zack Colman

August 25, 2017

Scientific American - The major hurricane now bearing down on Texas could prove to be one of the biggest political tests of President Trump's tenure.

That comes as climatologists warn that events like hurricanes are more intense due to climate change. A warmer planet causes evaporation to speed up, which means there is more water vapor in the air and leads to more intense rainfalls, according to Katharine Hayhoe, director of Texas Tech University's Climate Science Center. Rising sea levels make storm surges worse, as well. Both phenomena are studied by federal climate researchers in the programs targeted for budget cuts by the White House and congressional Republicans.

The Trump administration has yet to nominate anyone to head NOAA. That's the latest among all recent presidents except for Bush, who waited until mid-September of his first term to appoint a head of the agency that oversees the National Weather Service. The Trump administration's delay in appointing a leader for NOAA comes even as hurricane season is projected to be particularly active this year.

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