Global warming is it a real man made issue or is it just a cycle of nature? That's a subject that will be debated until we are all underwater or covered in a thick coat of ice I suppose.

There is no doubt that globally temperatures have been warmer over the past few years. That increase in our planet's mean temperature has given National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist a reason to believe that catastrophic weather events such as August's floods are connected to this phenomenon.

State Climatologist Dr. Barry Keim was not a participant in the NOAA study that was recently released. He did tell the Louisiana Radio Network there are certain consistent elements that could link a massive rainfall event and a warmer climate. It's a scientific fact that warm air is able to hold more moisture than the same volume of air at a cooler temperature.

The atmosphere can contain more atmospheric moisture, which can ultimately be wound up into one of these storms and produce these very, very heavy rainfall events.

Another consistency that Keim alluded to in his comments were the warmer sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. These warmer waters were one of the reasons the system that created the heavy flooding rains was able to  maintain its strength over such an extended period of time.

Warmer sea surface temperatures will also have more evaporation off of those surfaces that can ultimately be fed into those particular storms.

Keim went on to suggest in his comments that while there were certainly consistencies between a warmer planet and the flooding rains the increase in temperature can not be conclusively reported as the catalyst for the event.

We’re going to be studying this storm for some time because it was such an unusual meteorological feature, and why was this particular storm so efficient.

That brings us back to our original debate that we cited at the beginning of this  piece. Is a warming planet a result of man's presence in the environment or is the environment simply doing what it has always done, seek balance. Feel free to debate the subject among yourselves, I am going to sit in the air conditioning while you do.


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