Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ocean Heat, CO2, Super Typhoon Mangkhut, Hurricane Florence, and North Carolina / Florida Climate Politics

"Ocean heat content (OHC) and CO2 concentration measurements since 1950s. The black line represents ocean heating for the upper 2000 meters of ocean, and light red shading represents the 95 percent confidence interval. CO2 concentration observed in Mauna Loa Observatory is displayed by light blue." Thanks to Lijing Cheng of the INSTITUTE OF ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, for use of this graphic and caption. 
Click for 9/14/18 update by James Griffiths at cnn.com: "Super Typhoon Mangkhut slams into the Philippines, strongest storm this year" with "maximum sustained winds of 270 kilometers per hour (165 mph), with gusts as high as 325 kilometers per hour (200 mph), the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane [. . . . putting] millions [ . . .] at risk from rising flood waters and landslides." Here is a video from Straits Times.

Click for 9/14/18 update from Matt Fidler at The Guardian: "East coast battered by Hurricane Florence – in pictures." 

Click for 9:50 PM ET 9/11/18 update from Holly Yan at can.com: "These 4 reasons make Hurricane Florence extremely dangerous."

The above graphic shows rise in "ocean heat content" from 1950s to present follows rise in CO2. Most scientists agree warmer oceans produce stronger hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate ("so destructive," according to Angela Fritz of The Washington Post, "their names have been retired."), and Florence now moving toward North Carolina. To clarify, I wrote on this blog September 21, 2017, "scientists note [ . . .]  climate change influences hurricane damage in three ways: 1) sea-level rise means higher storm surges are possible; 2) increased moisture produces higher floods; and 3) storm intensity increases from added heat energy."

Hurricane Florence, according to Emery P. Dalesio at abcnews.go.com, "could hit with punch not seen in more than 60 years." It is widely reported to be about the size of North Carolina when it hits Friday morning with winds expected somewhere between 120mph and 140 mph along with storm surges, heavy rains, and flooding.

Various news media reported a million people received mandatory evacuation orders near coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Bill McKibben twittered today "It's rude to say it at the moment, I guess, but perhaps worth remembering that the North Carolina legislature literally banned using the latest science on sea level rise for coastal planning."

This reminds me of how Florida Governor Rick Scott "nickeled, dimed, slashed and ignored Florida’s environmental protections for almost eight years" then claimed, according to Froma Harrop of The Seattle Times, no responsibility for Florida's extreme red tide this year or "Fertilizer pollution from sugar farms, citrus groves, and ranches [which] feeds the ['freshwater blue-green slime'] algae" even though "When there is conflict over this, Scott habitually sides with the biggest polluters."

Similarly, regarding Florida Governor Rick Scott, the headline of a Washington Post article by Terrence McCoy on March 10, 2015, was "Fla. scientist told to remove words ‘climate change’ from study on climate change." I like what poet William Stafford wrote in 1982 in his poem “Reading the Big Weather,” “'Republicans / Control Congress'—the year spins on unheeding. / [ . . . . ] This earth we are riding keeps trying to tell us / something with its continuous scripture of leaves." UC Berkeley poet John Shoptaw wrote "ecopoetry, whatever else it is, must include ecoprophecy," and Stafford's poem seems to fit.

As I noted in a post March 24, 2018, "the climate effects now are from emissions about 10 to 30 years ago, and we have poured in much more carbon since then. We can expect conditions to get worse until long after this problem is solved." Thoughts, prayers, and nonviolent climate action for people of the Philippines, North Carolina, nearby areas, and everywhere.

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