What do memorably horrible storms with names such as Katrina and Ike bode for
the future? Well, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA,
part of the government of the United States, has concluded that the frequency
and intensity of large storms are growing. Is there a hidden meaning in that
statistic, however? After all, 2005 has been the most active year in terms of
large storms in recent memory, with a total of 28, yes, 28.
Well, the Gulf Coast of the United States will need years to recover from Hurricane Ike. The point here, is that wind storms in this age of global
warming can alternate between increased strength and frequency. One year, we can
have 28 storms but only a few of them mammoth in scope. Then, other years, such
as 2008, we can have one-third fewer storms but several of them killers, such as
the succession of Felix, Gustav and Ike this year.
It is this whipsaw between killer size and rapid-fire events which is arguably
the most frightening aspect of what we have done to this planet. If, in
pondering this simple yet profound reality, you are not moved to trepidation, I
encourage you to take a hard assessment of the degradation to our planet. If we
can have billion-dollar wildfires in California while simultaneously just a few
hundred miles to the north vast areas are flooded from unseasonable
accumulations of rain and snow and then observe all of this in the same year,
something is very, very, wrong.