Climate change is not a fad, as its misinformed deniers consider it. It’s a considerable problem that the world must face heading into the next several years. But when people speak of it, familiar concepts pop up more often than most (e.g. melting ice caps). Not a lot of discussions focus on how climate change drives other more profound forces of nature, like storms.
Extremely powerful storms are becoming more frequent. This causes the world to adapt. Innovations like specialised aluminium coping systems for protecting buildings, which can withstand wind speeds as fast as 400 mph, are just one of numerous examples. The question now is whether the proliferation of such storms is caused by climate change.
Mother Nature’s Wrath
One great example is Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of Southern Philippines in November 2013. Haiyan is considered the most powerful storm to ever make landfall, sustaining winds of 190 to 195 mph when it struck. The destruction brought about by Haiyan displaced some 4.1 million people, destroyed over a million homes, and took the lives of 6,109 victims.
But determining whether storms are getting stronger is not a straightforward task. According to NASA’s Del Genio, storms aren’t one-dimensional—that is, many types of storms exist, and they are rated according to different aspects. He cites Hurricane Sandy, whose storm surge was apparently worsened by rising sea levels. Genio also notes that abnormally hot ocean surfaces might have contributed to Sandy’s intensification.
Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the group Weather Underground, says that the climate patterns of the 20th century are ‘gone.’ By this, he means that the new climate era is an extremely intense one compared to the prior. Masters also notes how water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have already surpassed critical levels. In the past, the waters weren’t hot enough to fully form a hurricane. Now, the past few years have seen ocean temperatures get warm enough to churn relatively more powerful ones.
The future seems bleak for the world. Mother Nature is bringing her wrath down upon everyone, and all that can be done is to adapt since it looks like the damage is already done.