This summer Hurricane Ida pounded the American states of Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Alabama and Pennsylvania to the tune of 1.4 billion dollars of damage and 33 deaths, according to insurance company Allstate.
The total fiscal damage from the 2021 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season was estimated to be 69.13 billion dollars, the fourth costliest tropical season on record. There have been seven hurricanes this year, four of which were category 3 or higher (disasterphilanthropy.org).
What does this all mean? For one thing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) weather service noted not only the increasing numbers and the severity of these storms, but the fact that they are beginning a month sooner now, and finishing 2 weeks later than in 1981 when the National Weather Service began naming these storms (weather.com). To reflect these changes the National Hurricane Center (NHC) have extended the Tropical Season from May 15 to November 1st.
Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was the 5th costliest storm in US history, it wreaked a lot more havoc than just the New Jersey shoreline and parts of the five boroughs of New York City.
Sandy inflicted a grand total of 730 billion dollars of damage and killed 233 people, across eight countries from the Caribbean all the way up to the east coast of Canada ( info courtesy of brittannica.com). It even earned the moniker “Super Storm” due not only to the carnage it produced but also for the 2 weeks it churned up the North American eastern seaboard before finally fizzling out somewhere near Halifax, Canada (FEMA.gov).
The whole world remembers Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and how the levees failed as the city of New Orleans in Louisiana was battered by 125 mph winds. The aftermath showed abandoned residents clinging to their rooftops while the US federal government calmly ignored them was a lasting reminder of the incompetence and carelessness of the George W. Bush Administration.
It is not just the incredible spike in enormous hurricanes or the tornadoes now occurring in areas where previously were extremely rare. We must also look at the rise in temperatures, not just in the US, but worldwide.
According to www.climate.gov, the combined land and ocean temperature has risen 0.16 degrees each decade since 1980, which is double the amount from the same study beginning in 1880. The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 2005. Global warming deniers who call this a mere anomaly must now remove those blinders they’ve had on the last 15 years.
A statistic like that is not a coincidence, quite the contrary, it should serve as a warning of the potential doom facing the home of the human race, planet Earth. The planet has risen 1 degree Celsius ( 2 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1880. It may seem like a really insignificant change, but just a 2 degree change was enough to cause a Little Ice Age, with a 5 degree difference being enough to bury most of North America in ice 20,000 years ago ( earthobservatory.nasa.gov).
In getting to the root cause of all these increasing semi apocalyptic weather events and alarming changes in the Earth’s temperature we find…. well what else? Mass pollution, burning of fossil fuels and certain ignorant world leaders, hand in hand with oil and coal producers, continuing to pump these gases into the atmosphere.
According to the science website pnas.org, during the height of the lockdowns due to covid-19 all around the globe saw unprecedented reductions in all forms of pollutants. Levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by 60 percent in over 34 countries in 2020, the lessening of human activity helped ozone damaging gases, mainly due to mass transportation, reach levels we haven’t seen in seventy five years.
One attempt at tackling this immensely pertinent issue was the Paris Climate Accords which were drafted in November of 2015 ( apnews.com). Some of the Paris Agreements main goals are to reduce the raising of long term temperature rates to below pre-industrial levels. Global CO2 emissions, per the agreement, are eventually supposed to reach net zero by the mid 21st century.(unfccc.int)
These ambitious hopes are relying on the cooperation of 190 countries and and the EU to abide by the guidelines agreed to in 2015. The United States under the Donald Trump Administration withdrew from the climate agreement in August of 2017. Trump’s vendetta against “mother earth” was on full display during the entirety of his four years in office and the setbacks to the well-being of the environment will surely be felt long after he’s long gone.
In closing, it’s really up to the so-called world powers like US, UK, China, and India to name but a few. It’s finally becoming evident to just about every person with any knowledge of basic science that the planet cannot survive the destructive actions of the human race. I’ve quoted many statistics and factual data that proves we are on the verge of a potential apocalyptic weather event in the not too distant future.
The only way we as a society and the custodians of our home planet, can possibly overcome the catastrophic amounts of damage we have inflicted over the past 150 years is working together.
Countries must start joining forces and using each others capital and many resources available to have any chance at rescuing our permanent home called Earth.