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Hurricanes and Other Wind Storms Increasing in Strength and Number

Posted Nov 26 2008 10:24am

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

The growing frequency and intensity of hurricanes is a very personal issue for me. My wife Catrin and I were very lucky to survive the repeated onslaughts of killer storms in Central Florida since moving here in 1992, not just hurricanes but tropical storms and tornados. Alas, a good friend of ours was not so lucky. Indeed, Nonnie Chrystal took the desperate hurricane-borne heartbreak which her family suffered just a few years ago and turned it into a beautiful monument to conservation and low-impact living with Florida’s Showcase Green Envirohome.

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.

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

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