Kerry Emanuel (Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) published an article in Nature in October 1999. It stated quite bluntly: “The evolution of hurricane intensity depends mainly on three factors: the initial intensity of the storm, the thermodynamic State of the atmosphere through which it moves and the heat exchange with the upper ocean layer below the core of the hurricane. ”Hurricane Ida acted according to his plan last weekend. It crossed very hot water in Gulf of Mexico on Saturday night, intensifying thereby dramatic. It was fifth in the list of strongest storms ever to strike the Louisiana coast and had already intensified its impact by the time it reached Louisiana. There have been three landstorms per year on average in the United States for the past 70+ years. Ida, however, is the seventeenth of these storms in the past two decades.
It is worth remembering that the natural disaster is predictable. Emanuel explained that hurricanes get their power from the ocean heat. The hurricane can become stronger if there is more heat. Physics. Physics. There is more evaporation in dry areas, which means there is more drought and therefore more fire. Physics. More flood rain. Physics. Energy is the lifeblood of the earth. Carbon dioxide is created from burning coal, gas and oil. We are able to capture more of it close to the surface. This energy is found in melting ice sheet, rising seas and the incomprehensible roaring of the wind that occurs when a great storm hits a city made of steel and glass. It isn’t that difficult at the end.
You can’t beat physics. This is the essence of 21st-century science. It is possible to fight it in two different ways. The first is to prepare. Ida landed exactly 16 years ago, the same day as Katrina. It devastated the area. The dikes have been successful so far and the city also has better and more efficient pumps. Deanne Criswell, who formerly led New York’s emergency management department, is now the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s professional manager. This is in contrast to someone who had previously managed an Arab horse association. We pay lip service at best to the most vulnerable, poor and coloured people. This helps at least temporarily. (We have gotten worse in some areas too. Instead of working together to defeat COVID and we ideologues derail too many of those efforts. New Orleans hospitals were already crammed full of people on ventilators. It is not to say that New Orleans has been spared the worst. Ida appears to have survived the worst. However, a large transmission mast that supplies the city with electricity was destroyed by the Mississippi. We can increase our chances of surviving any disasters together.
The second is to prevent physics from getting more severe than it should. It is a simple task. We must stop burning fossil fuels. The more carbon dioxide and methane that we release into our atmosphere, the hotter the weather will get. Ida has temporarily halted the majority of its oil-and-gas production in the Gulf, but it must stop production permanently as soon as possible. If this is not done, physics becomes increasingly difficult.
The preparatory portion of Job 1 could be described as adapting to the consequences of what we cannot prevent. As Rebecca Solnit explained, solidarity is essential. In the face of true trauma, we can work together to rebuild. In this instance, however, we will need to work together for many years and many elections to build a more resilient society. It is possible. The new levees in New Orleans are an example of this. Next is President Biden’s Infrastructure Act. The federal government is a good builder – at least it was before understanding individualism, which is now poisoning our politics, became fashionable. This hyper-individualism was gross 40 years ago when Ronald Reagan was elected on his government was the problem platform. At that time, the atmosphere had three hundred and forty parts for million carbon dioxide. It’s suicidal today, with an atmosphere of 4100 and 20 parts per million.
The second job – to shut down the fossil fuel industry, or prevent what you can’t adapt from – is harder. Because it involves stopping something: The production of fossil fuels, as well as the wealth generated by industry. This task has become more difficult since industries have learned how to play the political system. It is easy for the governor of Mississippi, for example, to insist that “if your belief in eternal life – if your belief that this earth is just a speck of the screen, then you don’t have to be afraid of anything” like last week.
Although it is possible that we have waited too much to start this work, we are forced to continue to attempt both. This is what the hurricane, the smoke that choked Lake Tahoe and other record-breaking events remind us of. If this happens, then the sea level, water temperature, and physics will all be higher the next time. Political action is necessary, but it’s not a normal political battle. Physics does not compromise, negotiate or hold back. Physics is very simple. It is up to us to comprehend the limits it places and to live within these limits.
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