By: Mariam Elalem
Summary: On October 25th of 2018, one of the most dangerous storms hit the US lands on the islands of Saipan and Tinian. This typhoon caused the death of two people and destroyed thousands of homes. Climate scientists called it the Super Typhoon Yutu due to its immense power and the large number of losses it caused to the islands. The residents of Saipan and Tinian lived for months without power and a limited access to fresh water and other important resources.
Typhoons, hurricanes, and generally tropical cyclones are storms of extreme high intensity winds (73 miles per hour or more), they also bring intense weather like thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. The notable difference between them is the ocean basin where they originate. Due to climate change, these cyclonic super storms are increasing in intensity and frequency. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that climate change will lead to higher rainfall, greater intensity and greater proportion of category 4-5 storms. These changes are mainly caused by climate change and the warming temperature, which drives the cyclonic storm activity. Increasing sea levels caused by global warming also contribute to intensifying the effects of these storms.
The process that leads to the formation of tropical cyclones is rather simple. It starts with a slight atmospheric disturbance in or near a tropical ocean. When water temperatures are, around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and atmospheric conditions with moisture and uniform winds, a tropical storm starts evolving. In the Atlantic, the process first reaches a tropical depression, and as it intensifies the system upgrades to a tropical storm, and when the wind rises over 74 mph it becomes a hurricane.
In other words, the warmer the temperatures, the more heat energy available and the higher the frequency of tropical cyclones developing. As humans continue to release greenhouse gasses, the effects and the frequency of those cyclone activity will keep continuously intensifying.
Citations: ALYSSA FREDERICK, PH.D. CANDIDATE; STEVEN MANA`OAKAMAI JOHNSON, PH.D. STUDENT, UCS SCIENCE NETWORK, UCS | DECEMBER 17, 2018, 4:25 PM EST
Why we should care? This topic showcases the effects of climate change in the real world. It also addresses how the continuous release of harmful greenhouse gases is leading to a chain reaction of environmental issues.
Example News Article:
I found this article on NPR’s website, and it discusses the recent hurricane Dorain and how category 5 hurricanes are becoming far more frequent than they are supposed to be. The article is in the form of an interview with meteorologist Jeff Berardelli. He explained why category 5 hurricanes like Dorain are occurring more often in recent years than they used to.Meteorologist Beradrelli explains that every year we set new records for ocean heat content, and although global temperature may constantly change every year, the ocean’s temperature does not. It only keeps increasing due to the fact that 93% of excess heat trapped because of greenhouse gases stays stored in the ocean, and in a way to release this heat we face a high intensity hurricanes multiple times a year.
I found this article interesting because it presents the information in the form of a case study where the two scientists researching the topic start their article by presenting a real-life example, which is a recent event or a natural disaster that happened in 2018. For the rest of the article, they progressively break down the science behind the occurrence of those tropical cyclones. The other interesting part of the article is how it connects the different aspects and the reasons behind tropical cyclones, where one of the paragraphs strictly focused on how the release of greenhouse gases and the rise of sea levels contribute to worsening the intensity of these tropical storms.
Science in Action.
Steven Mana'oakamai Johnson is a Ph.D. graduate student from the University of Oregon, majoring in geography and focusing his research on environmental sciences, and marine resource management.
Johnson’s area of research includes how humans interact with oceans and marine life and how industrial human activities are impacting oceans, ocean resources, and marine life. This field of research is relevant to my blog topic because it explains the correlation between human activities and the harm they cause to the oceans and ocean temperature. This change in ocean temperature increases the intensity and frequency of hurricanes and other tropical cyclones thus leading to major losses for land and communities in coastal areas. Johnson's research also tends to look into solutions and ways we could shape our activities to protect the marine life and to prevent the occurrence of such destructive natural disasters.