Maquina Lectora

Notes of a curious mind

Category: Climate Reports (Page 1 of 2)

Hurricane Ophelia heads toward Ireland

Hurricane season still has 45 days left but it’s already one of the most terrible on record. Ophelia, is being the 10th consecutive hurricane developed in the last 10 weeks in a row breaking the previous record of 9. The last time this happened was way back in 1893.

Now a category 3 hurricane, Ophelia marches towards Ireland and British Isles (image by NOAA). It is more likely to evolve into an extratropical cyclone as it passes over cooler North Atlantic water. But even as a storm, strong winds that could exceed 80mph (130km/h) and heavy rain are expected to blow into the southwest parts of Ireland and west parts of the United Kingdom on Monday, 16 October.

Stay safe!

 

‘Οταν με ρωτάνε για την κλιματική αλλαγή

Kαι έτσι ξαφνικά, εκεί που για δεκαετίες αντιμετώπιζα την δυσπιστία, την αμφισβήτηση την κοροϊδία, και την κάθε είδους ανοησία και θεωρία συνομωσίας, έφτασαν δύο καταστροφικοί τυφώνες για να εγερθεί το ενδιαφέρον των γνωστών μου στην Ελλάδα για την κλιματική αλλαγή.

Η αλήθεια είναι πως έχω κουραστεί να εξηγώ και να προσπαθώ να πείσω ανθρώπους που δεν έχουν καμμιά διάθεση να ακούσουν, πολύ περισσότερο να πεισθούν για την αξιοπιστία των επιστημονικών δεδομένων σχετικά με την κλιματική αλλαγή. Η αντιμετώπιση μου απέναντί τους είναι πλέον στωική.

Όταν με ρωτάνε, καταλήγω πάντα με την εξής πρόταση. Εκτός και αν κάποιοι τρελοί αποφασίσουν να χρησιμοποιήσουν πυρηνικά όπλα, για να αποδείξουν πόσο τρανοί είναι, η κλιματική αλλαγή αποτελεί τον μεγαλύτερο κίνδυνο για την ανθρωπότητα, σε οικονομικό και ανθρωπιστικό επίπεδο.

Δεν εχουμε πουθενά να πάμε για να ξεφύγουμε, έχουμε μόνο ένα σπίτι, μικρό και εύθραυστο.


Image Credit: NOAA/CIRA

Relentless rains from Tropical Storm Harvey

One of the worst flood disasters in modern U.S. history unfolded on Sunday in the Houston area, driven by relentless rains from Tropical Storm Harvey. The disaster is unprecedented and at this point, as Bob Henson writes,  “it may make little difference whether Harvey stays just inland or moves just offshore, since rainbands would continue to be funneled toward Houston either way.” The overall message is consistent: Harvey will be a devastating rainmaking presence in southeast Texas for days to come.

In the meantime, the situation on the ground in Houston is gaining uncomfortable resonance with 2005’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. As with Katrina, there have been numerous reports of people trapped in attics, and countless roads across the city are impassable. 

Climate change amplifies the three primary hazards associated with hurricanes: potential wind speed, rainfall, and storm surge. Although it is too early to say, Harvey is sure to inflict a massive economic toll as well. Katina, in 2005,was around $100 billion and Sandy in 2012, around $75 billions.


 

References:

Mammoth Flood Disaster in Houston: More Rain Yet to Come, August 27, 2017, Weather Underground.

 

New York’s magazine climate story the most-read article in magazine’s history

The New York Magazine published the annotated edition of its controversial climate story and it is now the most-read article in New York’s magazine history, despite some imprecise science which has been discussed and analysed extensively here .

The fact that so many people have read the 7,000-word story, gives me some hope that we can engage large audience on climate. People want to learn and despite the bleak picture by overstating some of the science it is clear that ongoing warming of the global climate would eventually have very severe consequences.

The climate journalists have an important role to play in fighting climate change. By raising awareness, by informing and educating, by making the public part of the story.  I hope they will continue to try to find and publish the stories, all these weird things – mega storms, heat waves, droughts, floods – that climate change could cause and make the world more dangerous.

Climate Change, Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade

One more reason why climate change is the most pressing issues of our time.

A new report from Chatham House called “Chokepoints and vulnerabilities in global food trade” identifies 14 chokepoints around the world that are critical to global food  security. It includes maritime, coastal and inland chokepoints like  the Panama Canal, the Turkish Straits, the US rail network and the Black Sea ports and rail network.

The combination of extreme weather and weak and aging infrastructure together with  rising trade volumes, underinvestment and  weak governance, make chokepoint disruptions – both small-scale and large-scale – increasingly likely. A serious interruption at one or more of these chokepoints could lead to supply shortfalls and price spikes, with systemic consequences that could reach beyond food markets, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

Climate change, especially, will have a multiplying effect on security and political hazards affecting the infrastructural backbone of international trade. Just think a hurricane landfall in the Gulf of Mexico, or a flood induced by sea-level rise in a lower latitude region.

Systemic problems require systemic solutions. The report proposes five areas for action and requires governments to anticipate the future and act at both national and international levels. Work must begin now for the necessary measures to be in place before climate change becomes a major source of disruption and instability.

Image Source: www.chathamhouse.org

Climate Change in the Courts

A few weeks ago, representatives of 196 parties around the world signed an agreement in Paris (COP21) that requires countries to update and enhance their targets to cut greenhouse gases every five years. The targets themselves are not legally-binding but the majority of political leaders said they support working with other countries to curb global warming and were willing to take steps to do so. Still, there are politicians that there are still skeptical, the Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for example, said last week that if he was elected president he would withdraw the U.S. from the climate agreement.

In the absence of enforceable commitments to reduce emissions, concerned citizens and organisations look to the courts for an alternative way of driving emissions cuts by countries or companies.

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