News / Science & Technology

    'Storm of Century' Might Hit Every Decade

    Intense storm risk more frequent in warmer world

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Rosanne Skirble

    Path of Hurricane Irene in August 2011. At peak intensity, Irene reached Category 3 hurricane status with sustained winds of 125 mph. (Courtesy NOAA)

    With climate change, powerful storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every three to 20 years, researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found.  



    Their study proposes a way to more accurately assess the risks posed by more frequent and intense hurricanes and sea rise, especially in coastal communities most threatened by the earth’s changing climate.  

    New York City was the focus of the study. Scientists coupled computer climate models with hurricane models and generated some 45,000 virtual storms within a 200-kilometer radius of New York.

    Princeton University atmospheric scientist and study co-author Michael Oppenheimer says, while there was some variability among the models, the common feature was a greater frequency of intense storms. That confirmed findings from previous studies.

    Water from the Passaic River covers the intersection of Main Street and Memorial Drive in Paterson, N.J., where the river overflowed its banks following Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
    Water from the Passaic River covers the intersection of Main Street and Memorial Drive in Paterson, N.J., where the river overflowed its banks following Hurricane Irene in August 2011.

    “What we found was that indeed, a surge level, that is a level of penetration of flood water inland during a storm, that would previously have been reached perhaps every 100 years, is now going to be reached maybe once a decade, which is quite a big change in the risk and something that coastal managers really have to start planning for.”

    About half the world’s population lives within 200 kilometers of a coastline, and that number is rising as more people move to cities in low-lying areas, according to the Population Reference Bureau.  

    Oppenheimer believes urban planners must be able to evaluate the risks climate change will pose to life and property.

    “What is the probability that something of a certain level of impact will happen?" he says. "And how do we prevent that? Do we raise the sea walls around the city? Do we have better evacuation plans? Do we ultimately plan for some sort of storm surge barrier?”

    According to Oppenheimer, as the world changes, so must our response to it.

    “We need to anticipate that world," he says. "We don’t want to just sit there and take the punch. We want to be ready for it when it comes.”

    While the study analysis is based on New York, Oppenheimer says the technique the team used could be applied anywhere.  

    “We’re looking at this as one modest step in a direction that humanity is going to have to move over time, in getting smarter about dealing with the world that one way or another is going to get warmer, with more threats, while the world also hopefully gets its act together to cut emissions to start reducing the risk eventually.”

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora