By: Loren Solomon
Summary. Around noon Sunday, August 29th Hurricane Ida made landfall as an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. At landfall it sustained winds measured to 150 mph, making Ida one of the worst storms to hit Louisiana. According to the New York Times on September 8, 2021, Ida caused long term damage to many cities, states, and neighboring areas, spanning from Louisiana, to the Gulf Coast, hitting neighboring countries such as Jamaica, Venezuela, Cuba, Columbia, and Cayman Islands, before moving north and effecting the east coast of the United states and Atlantic Canada. The storm caused catastrophic flooding and other damages, making it the sixth costliest tropical cyclone on record, with roughly $50.1 billion (USD) in damages. Aside from economic damage, it also caused heavy environmental damage, as the storm destroyed a fertilizer plant, which belched highly toxic anhydrous ammonia into the air, creating pollution. It also damaged two gas pipelines that leaked isobutane and propylene, flammable chemicals that are hazardous to human health. Furthermore, plastic plant Plaquemine, operated by Shintech, a subsidiary of the Japanese industrial giant Shin-Etsu lost power in the storm’s aftermath, and is emitting ethylene dichloride, yet another toxic substance, polluting those in Louisiana who were of those hit by the worst of the storm. Shell also reported that its refinery and chemical complex in Norco had released an unknown amount of hydrogen as the company shut down the plant ahead of the hurricane’s arrival, for it to later become flooded while emitting black smoke and flares. Other companies and plants have also stepped forward announcing news of chemical and oil leaks, as results of Hurricane Ida.
Why we should care? We should care about the pollution brought on by natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida, as they directly affect climate change and the environment as a whole. Warmer oceans provide the energy to intensify these types of storms.
I found this particular article fascinating, as it was updated to have information from when the storm first hit, as well as after the fact, to provide the best evidence and information regarding pollution caused by Hurricane Ida. Additionally, the article contains a plethora of examples in which Ida has damaged the environment, leaving cities in ruin of flooding and the physical damages that come with a severe storm, while also highlighting the very hazardous effects that come from pollution run off due to oil leaks and chemical spills etc… Furthermore, I chose this source as the article was well constructed and encouraged others to put forth change.
Science in Action.
Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt is a Climatologist at NASA, as well as a Climate modeler and Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt is certified in many areas of environmental science, more specifically in the study of climate. Climate is affected by many different variables, including tiny, uncontrollable shifts in our oceans to the massive amounts of greenhouse gases humans are adding to the atmosphere. As the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt develops detailed climate models that illustrate the effects of each of these factors. In doing so, he studies the past, present and future climate, as well as the many impacts and drivers of climate change, including solar irradiance, atmospheric chemistry, aerosols, and greenhouse gases.