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Why This Matters: Devastating storms like Seroja can completely upend peoples’ lives, and warming oceans are making storms more dangerous, with stronger winds and more rain. In Indonesia, tropical cyclones used to be rare, according to weather agency head Dwikorita Karnawati.
“Seroja is the first time we’re seeing tremendous impact because it hit the land. It’s not common,” she told a news conference, noting that climate change could be the reason.
Since climate change leads to tropical storms with heavier rains — as the U.S. saw during last year’s hurricane season — the devastating floods and landslides that have already caused much damage are also making rescue efforts more difficult.
Warmer waters, wetter storms
The connection between warming temperatures and increased precipitation is one of the best-understood weather impacts of the climate crisis. As Yale Climate Connections explains, “Simply put, the warmer the air is, the more moisture it can hold and the more rain it produces.” Every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature means the atmosphere can hold about 7% more moisture. (So keeping within the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees C also means stopping the atmosphere from taking in 10% more moisture.)
In a hurricane or cyclone, the effect is even stronger, creating a massive increase in rainfall. Research by MIT’s Kerry Emanuel, a meteorologist and climate scientist who studies cyclones, finds a sixfold increase in the chances of a rain-drenched storm like Hurricane Harvey since the late 20th century.
The United Arab Emirates has developed a new solution to mitigate heatwaves and drought. Cloud-zapping drones could be the key to manufacturing rainfall, and testing has already begun. Previous methods of cloud-seeding using salt flares have raised questions about environmental safety, but this new method doesn’t use chemicals. Instead, it zaps clouds with electricity, triggering rain production. Cloud-seeding has been employed in the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer After over a week of sudden natural disasters across the globe, at least 33 people have now died in catastrophic floods in central China. The Henan province is currently facing millions of dollars of damage, and 200,000 evacuees are looking for an end to the nightmare. As the army mobilizes to prevent further flooding, […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Severe flooding in Western Europe has now led to the deaths of 46 people, with 1,300 presumed missing in Germany. The unprecedented floods prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently visiting Washington, DC, to call the event a catastrophe. “Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people […]
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