Sunday, November 10, 2013

Super Typhoon


Although it is too early to pass any judgements on the potential causes for super typhoon Haiyan but yet we must keep in mind the warnings of the climate scientists about some of the possible effects of warmer oceans .

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A fairly normal typhoon season in the western Pacific has spawned a real monster—supertyphoon Haiyan—which made landfall in the Philippines at around 5 a.m. local time.

The storm, described by some as "tropical cyclone perfection" and "off the charts," packed sustained winds of 195 miles (315 kilometers per hour), with gusts as strong as 235 miles (380 kilometers per hour). Experts predict the typhoon—also known as Yolanda in the Philippines—could end up being the strongest storm to ever make landfall since modern record-keeping began, according to The Washington Post.


"It's knocking our socks off," said Jim Kossin, an atmospheric scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climatic Data Center. (Related: "What's a Typhoon, Anyway?")
But what happens to create such a megastorm?

There are several environmental factors that play into how strong a storm can get, Kossin explained. The storms thrive on warm water that goes deep into the ocean and consistent wind speeds in the atmosphere, he said.

"When all those things align in a certain way, then you're going to get something like [Haiyan]," Kossin added.


More Storms on the Horizon
Haiyan is a strange storm in both its strength and because it comes very late in the typhoon season, which officially ended November 1, said Colin Price, head of the geophysical, atmospheric, and planetary sciences department at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Although the overall number of hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons—all the same weather phenomenon—hasn't increased over the past decades, the proportion of more intense storms has, Price explained. 

"All typhoons feed off the warm ocean waters," he said. The moisture-laden air above these regions is the fuel that fires the engines in these storms.

"We've seen in the past decades the oceans are warming up, likely due to climate change," said Price. "So warmer oceans will give us more energy for these storms, likely resulting in more intense storms."
Haiyan dipped down near the Equator, where it likely picked up some more steam, before heading to the Philippines, he said.

It's similar to what happened when Hurricane Katrina picked up steam as it passed over the warm pool of water in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2005.

National Geographic.

16 comments:

Mary Hekker said...

I have been moderately following Supertyphoon Haiyan over the past week. It struck me that is may be the strongest storm to ever make landfall. It's not like these records are broken every year. It's taking something special for a storm to be this strong, especially so late in the season. It reminds me of Hurricane Sandy last year, not the intensity or damage done, but how a storm of great magnitude can occur later in the hurricane season. People must realize that it is not a freak coincidence that massive storms are occurring more frequently. How many "storm of the century"'s can we cram into one decade? These natural disasters are happening because we're not caring for our planet. The Earth is warming up and that includes oceans. This supertyphoon just goes to show that if we continue to treat the Earth the way we are, we must prepare for the consequences.

Annamaria Watson said...

Supertyphoon Haiyan is a sad predictor of what is in the world's future. If warmer oceans will lead to bigger typhoons, that we can expect that Haiyan will not remain the largest typhoon ever for long. The humanitarian crisis that this typhoon has created is immense and I cannot at this time even imagine a more amplified version of if. Having worked with an organization that deals with the aftermath of these crisis especially focusing on children who have been impacted, I am devastated to hear that we have let our environmental impact get so out of hand that we in the United States and Europe are quite literally causing thousands of deaths and injuries on the other side of the world. It is so sad. I can only hope that the majority of people will become aware, at least, of the environmental crisis we are creating, as a result of this storm.

Anonymous said...

I sounds very weird but growing up, my grandfather always said that mother nature knows what she's going and will correct any obstacles in her way. I think the amount and extremities of these past few massive environmental disasters are a product of that. We've been disrespecting the Earth, stripping it of it's natural goods and overall abusing it. If we continue to act and use as much as we do, mother nature will do everything to correct it.
I'm not about to make the most politically correct statement but humans are the cause of more rapidly increasing water temperatures and we brought this upon ourselves. Our lack of respect for our planet has resulted in exactly what we should have predicted. Yes this storm was horrible, but it's not like it came out of the blue. We continue to use our natural resources and rape the planet and we know the outcome of these actions. We consistently chose economy over environment and because of that egotistical choice, things like this will continue to happen....probably more and more.

-Megan Spaulding

Leah DeEgidio said...

Supertyphoon Haiyan is another warning from nature that we should change our relationship with the environment. Humanity is blind and deaf if we cannot realize that it is our own actions that are causing these storms. We are creating our own causalities and damage from these super storms and until revolutionize our social paradigm we can expect more. You are ignorant if you think these storms are unexpected and unavoidable.

Dana Colavito said...

Supertyphoon Haiyan was a wake up call. Our planet has suffered great storms before but nothing like this. This storm has awakened us to pay more attention to how we are treating earth because now we have proof of how this happened. The warmer waters are causing these massive storms to brew and we can help prevent another one by taking better care of our planet.

Omer Aitzaz said...

It is terrifying to realize that the incidences of natural disasters has risen drastically over the last decade. We have seen the strongest and most destructive storms and other disasters in the last couple of years; the worst part being that these incidences have been recorded globally. Besides natural disasters, earthquake tremors have been felt across the globe, stronger winds accompanying stronger storms are a red signal for humans to realize that mother nature is fighting back. Although Haiyan has been declared the strongest typhoon to hit land in history, this record will surely be transient; it will be quite soon when we shall hear/come across another storm that will top the magnitude of Haiyan's power. We are emerging a point in our history that might just eradicate all life on earth. Humans, collectively, have to control and limit their activities inorder to save the next generations of human and themselves. We, as individuals, can only do our part and hope that the rest of the world realizes the seriousness of this issue and takes action accordingly.

Anthony Jones said...

Superstorms like Haiyan that touched down in the Phillippines are "canaries in the coal mine" as they are ominous indicators of the severity of the environmental impact human activity has and continues to have on our planet. Though storms like these have always been natural phenomena, occurring all throughout Earth's history, with the increase of the human population and concurrent human impact on climate change, superstorms such as these will continue to occur more frequently and with increasingly severe intensity. Although Haiyan is a salient indicator of the impact of human activity on our environment, our culture's relationship with unsustainable living is an irony, as Western societies and their hallmark lifestyle of seemingly endless plenty will not be easily changed. The die has already been cast, and the peoples of the world must therefore work together in ways never before thought possible in the ongoing effort to adapt and cope with a changing climate.

Mary OSullivan said...

Super typhoon Haiyan is a warning for what is to come. If we do not drastically change our relationship with the environment, we will suffer dearly in the future. It is a wake up call to humanity, that forces us realize that our relationship with the earth has a major effect on things such as these natural disasters. it is our own fault that the oceans have begun to warm, and we are the only ones who can fix it.

Cynthia Romero said...

As simple as it sounds, the truth is that there is a reason this is happening. We are clearly doing something wrong and the earth is trying to tell us something. We need to stop and listen! This is disastrous and scary. If these signs aren't enough then I don't know what is. We caused this destruction, we need to fix it.

Michael Bronn said...

There may not be more storms than ever but there are definitely worse storms than ever before. Our recent storms are natural disasters have been record breaking and I do not believe that it is a coincidence. Things need to be changed, but it may also be too late to be able to avoid any more of these disasters. We need to stop the pollution because it could still get worse and worse.

Kira Knight said...

Natural disasters like these go to show the state our environment is in and where it is headed. We definitely need to wake up if we want to save our environment (or ourselves for that matter!). There's no way we're going to make it at the rate of destruction we're operating at. Events like these make me worry for our future.

Taylor Vogt said...

I watch a lot of extreme weather event youtube videos in my spare time, when I’m not doing anything else in particular. I remember watching the devastation of Typhoon Bopha tore through the Philippines. I was horrified by what I saw, the utter distress that the people there were going through as their lives were torn away. Dozens were killed and thousands were without homes, even more without electricity or other essentials for weeks, if not months after the tragedy. That’s why when I heard about Haiyan my heart sank for the people in it’s wake. I watched the news in real time as it was covered and saw the storm tear apart buildings and blow people and objects through the air. It’s almost inconceivable that we may be the cause for the rising strength and occurrence of these storms if this is the effect. I think to myself how sad a world we live in where not only do countries that effect the climate most through pollution to cause things like global warming not have to bear the brunt of it’s effects (considering Sandy, knowing full well that it destroyed the coast line, but the human toll was far less than either of these storms) but in the weeks after the disaster we did not even act to seriously assist them.

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