I never saw such turmoil
on the sea--
dark water snarling at us
and grabbing whatever it could
in the white claws
of its waves.
from: Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles
written by Shari Green
Pajama Press, Inc. 2016
My older daughter spent her 21st birthday hunkering down in the midst of Tropical Storm Josephine. Winds reached a peak of 70 miles per hour (the mildest hurricane clocks in at 74), and we were scared. We don’t have hurricanes in Ohio.
We have tornadoes, though, but that’s a topic for another day.
Hurricanes are formed by a complicated mix of climate and weather variables. Warm waters are a key ingredient to fuel storms. And the Atlantic Ocean is at its warmest in September, after a summer full of warm/hot weather. But hurricanes are also influenced and steered by massive global trends, like el Nino and others, that are hard to predict. Temperature differences between the surface and the higher reaches of the atmosphere also play a role.
While predicting the number of hurricanes per season is more accurate than ever, what is much harder to predict is how fierce the winds will blow and how fast or slowly the storm will travel. Seems like, on average, storms are getting fiercer and slower (wetter). Scientists do not agree that this has reached “trend” status, though.
Our climate is changing. Even those in the highest government office reluctantly admit that. Here’s a quote from 60 Minutes last Sunday (10/13/18): "But it [climate change] could very well go back. You know, we're talking about over a million ... years.”
But he won’t admit that any part of it is man-made. Even though NASA’s website says:
Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree*: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
The answer “from the top” is "You'd have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.” (from the same 60 Minutes broadcast) https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/14/politics/trump-60-minutes-interview/index.html
So I say, “What political agenda?”
Mobilizing FEMA to provide shelter, clean water, and rebuild destroyed power lines and infrastructure? Puerto Rico is still suffering from last year’s storm. Many parts of mainland US have not recovered yet, either.
Getting the government to provide more tax dollars to help people rebuild damaged property and damaged lives? So voters will support candidates who appear caring and helpful?
Supporting the coal industry with regulation roll-backs allowing more noxious pollutants into the air? The United Nations issued a “dire climate report last week urging a drastic reduction in carbon emissions and phasing out fossil fuels to limit catastrophic global warming.”
We’re at the tail-end of Hurricane Season. It runs from June 1 through November 30 each year.
But we are not even at the beginning of being able to work together to solve this “huge” world problem.
We need to stay in the Paris Agreement. We need to talk and write to our congressional legislators. We need to be our own advocates, and each other’s.
—-stay curious! (and actively involved)