Tuesday August 27th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Puerto Rico And Dorian… Tropical Sustainability Lessons
The territory of Puerto Rico is a relatively small target for a direct hit from a hurricane, but as we know Maria slammed into that island two years ago. Now those who remained on the island who didn’t move to the mainland U.S. or elsewhere are being threatened by a new tropical storm, Dorian. Some panic has been ensuring, and who can blame anyone for distraught emotions or actions since mighty Maria remains on everyone’s minds. Here is the latest from Weather Underground:
It’s not likely that Dorian will strengthen into another category four hurricane before its approaches to Puerto Rico, nor is the current forecast even getting the system up to hurricane status before it is closest to the island. Even if Dorian hits Puerto Rico directly the island will see far less damage than from Maria. Nevertheless, Dorian serves as another warning sign that climate change will hold no prisoners, so any territory susceptible to the path of monster storms will need to think long and hard about sustainability for its population.
How can living on Puerto Rico as well as other areas likely to be hit by major hurricanes become more sustainable, raising quality of life? For starters green infrastructure needs to replace old, faulty power lines. Micro grids conected to solar panels maybe the ticket as far as Puerto Rico goes. Building underground wiring would probably be too cost prohibitive.
Next, buildings and businesses will need to come up to some code such that they can withstand at least a direct hit from a major category three hurricane. In the Far East Japan has such dwellings due to encountering plenty of typhoons over the centuries. Poorer people cannot be depended on to be totally responsible for upgrades, so a lot of expense for any improvements would have to come from government. Unfortunately taxpayers will need to shoulder more burden as climate change puts a strain on society.
Better, longer term weather forecasts will be essential going through the rest of the 21st century. Hurricane researchers will need to solve at least some of the intensification flaws in current models. Better coordination with organizations like FEMA and the military will be essential so that disasters like the aftermath of Maria won’t happen again. Most of the near 3000 deaths occurred due to loss of electric power for months after Maria, not from wind and flooding itself.
If the strain on society is too much then there is only one more recourse of action…withdrawal and abandonment. Being on a pleasant tropical island or living on the coast is tempting, but in the future others will be hard pressed to help repair and replace damage or share by paying higher taxes for those living in danger zones. Insurance will become too pricey for most.
I sincerely pray that everyone going through Dorian in Puerto Rico comes out basically unscathed. I will be updating this blog with links to Dorian articles and information as the system moves northward into the Bahamas and threatens Florida.
Here is more climate and weather news from Tuesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
Here is one “ET” from Tuesday:
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”