The one-two punch delivered by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has left the southern United States and many islands in the northern Caribbean reeling, collectively resulting in more than 130 deaths, massive long-term flooding, and property damage totaling to a minimum of $132 billion — a number expected to climb dramatically as the aftermath of Irma’s rampage is assessed.

The first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in 12 years, Harvey was also the wettest tropical hurricane on record in the contiguous United States., dumping 51.88 inches (1,31.8 centimeters) — four and one-third feet — of rainfall. The resulting flooding inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displacing more than 30,000 people.

The past few weeks have shown that world weather conditions are becoming more and more chaotic. This is happening because temperatures are rising in specific ways and specific areas that are consistent with global warming. It will continue to happen, and in the process powerful storms, changes in ocean and air circulation and extensive fires will also continue.

Unfortunately, the United States, which should be leading the world, is now managed by an administration that pretends that the problem doesn’t exist at all. Amazingly, the US president has even claimed that it is a Chinese conspiracy. The latest internet meme is that it is caused by some sort of  weather control by a fictional “deep state.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has eliminated virtually all references to climate change on its website, according to a report from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, published on August 20. Similar removals were made earlier this year to the official pages of the EPA and the White House, in line with the climate-change denial policies espoused by the Trump administration.

Ordinarily, the bright, white surface of glacial ice found in ice sheets such as the ones that cover Greenland and Antarctica serve to function as reflectors that bounce a certain amount of solar radiation back into space — this effect also helps prevent the ice from being directly warmed too much by the sun. The effect of the ice’s reflectiveness, or albedo, can be compromised by changes in its color, for instance by soot being deposited on the surface from large wildfires ravaging a different part of the globe. The darkening of the ice causes it to absorb more sunlight, and in turn this increases the temperature of the ice, hastening its rate of melt. Now, a new factor has been identified that can darken the albedo of Greenland’s ice: the spread of simple algae.