Alex Witt   |  March 23, 2013

Study: Climate change will spawn more ‘Katrina events’

A new study suggests we could see up to 7-times as many hurricanes with equal size and intensity to hurricane Katrina as the climate warms. National Journal’s Coral Davenport joins MSNBC’s Alex Witt to discuss the report.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a new report with an unsettling read. it says we could have as manies a up to seven times hurricane-sized hurricanes . they're likely to become more common with only half the level of warning projected currently. carl davenport joins me from washington, d.c. we have the climatologists constantly warning us about the dire effects of global warming . what make this is unique?

>> what's interesting about this report is it talks specifically about the number of extreme hurricanes . it says that there is a very strong link that global temperature is a very strong predictor of number of hurricanes and it says that an average global temperature of increase of one degree celsius can multiply the number of extreme hurricanes , katrina-type hurricanes , two to seven times. one degree temperature increase, two to seven times as many more hurricanes , and right now the data shows that over the next century we're likely to see a temperature increase of one to two degrees. so that's a huge multiplier in terms of number of hurricanes . that's what really stands out about this study.

>> my director is going to throw up what the authors went on to say, but bottom line scientists gently tend to shy away from citing climate change . why the disconnect between the two assessments?

>> alex, as the data stack up, we're actually seeing scientists becoming more confident about asserting the link between climate change and extreme weather . and in this case with these scientists, the specific link that they drew was between climate change and what's called hurricane surge. and in that particular phenomenon, there's actually a very strong link. what hurricane surge is is when you've got global warming and you've got rising sea level , just an inch or two higher sea level , then you get an increase in the amount of water that gets scooped up by a storm and flooded over the land. that's the hurricane surge, and in that case, you know, the rising sea level is very clear, and that's caused by climate change , and so that's an area where scientists are much more comfortable saying, no, the link is clear. we're here to say it. when we have these strong storms and these strong storm surges that the link is clear and i think we're going to see more of that.

>> okay. we'll have you back again. thanks so much.