ON ONE hand, Filipinos can be thankful Hagibis avoided the Philippines. On the other hand, why would one wish Mother Nature will inflict disaster to another country?
Reminiscent of Yolanda, Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday night, unleashing fierce winds and “unprecedented” rain that triggered landslides and caused dozens of rivers to burst their banks.
The major difference is that the Land of the Rising Sun is better prepared for disasters than the Pearl of the Orient.
As of this writing, death toll nears 70 and caused widespread destruction from Hagibis, a long way off from the Yolanda casualties of the 6,300 Haiyan dead in the Philippines.
“Because of the heavy rain so far, water levels at rivers have risen and ground has softened in some places,” said chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga.
“We ask people not to drop their guard and to remain fully alert,” he told reporters. Banzai!
However, the world must not drop our guard for more forthcoming megastorms. Blame it on...where else but climate change.
As ocean temperatures rise with global warming, scientists warned the tropical cyclones that threaten both East Asia and the Atlantic seaboard could grow in strength and intensity.
“Warm sea surface temperatures help intensify tropical cyclones,” said Xie Shang-ping, an environmental scientist at the University of California in San Diego.
“This summer, sea surface temperatures have been abnormally warm in many parts of the world, as part of the general global warming trend.”
Whew, we are nearing Christmas. The weather used to be balmy by this time. But now we have to contend with humidity. It feels like the summer heat.
Super typhoons are tropical storms with maximum sustained winds of at least 185km/h, equivalent to a category five hurricane. Think Haiyan and Hagibis.
The impact of climate change on stronger typhoons or hurricanes could be traced back to how tropical cyclones formed over the ocean.
Cyclones are like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form only over warm sea waters near the equator.
Warm, moist air over the ocean rises upwards from near the surface, creating an area of low air pressure. This then forces air to swirl as surrounding areas with higher air pressure push in toward low-pressure areas.
The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price—in the form of a degraded planet—so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits. It is a great moral failing of our political system that we have allowed this to happen.
What now? The world is nearing irreversibility. We are facing global woes.