Cyclone Idai lays bare the fundamental injustice of climate change

Cyclone Idai lays bare the fundamental injustice of climate change

SOURCE: Grist DATE: March 19, 2019 SNIP: A humanitarian catastrophe is underway in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe as the full scale of devastation from Cyclone Idai becomes more clear. The World Meteorological Organization said Idai, which made landfall five days ago, could become the worst tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere. Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi fears that 1,000 people may have died in his country alone. The U.N.’s World Food Program called it “a major humanitarian emergency that is getting bigger by the hour.” Nearly 3 million people have been affected across the region, one of the poorest in the world. Cyclone Idai is not a natural disaster; the storm was made worse by climate change, centuries of colonialism, and continuing international injustices. There are at least three major ways that the Mozambique floods are related to climate change: First, a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which makes rainfall more intense. Idai produced more than two feet of rainfall in parts of the region — nearly a year’s worth in just a few days. Second, the region had been suffering from a severe drought in recent years in line with climate projections of overall drying in the region, hardening the soil and enhancing runoff. Third, sea levels are about a foot higher than a century ago, which worsens the effect of coastal flooding farther inland. During four centuries of colonial rule, Mozambique was used as a source of slaves, mines, and plantation agriculture. The nation gained independence from Portugal in 1975 after a 10-year long revolutionary war. A devastating 15-year civil war followed shortly thereafter. But...
“Time bomb”: Tropics expansion nudges cyclone formation into new areas

“Time bomb”: Tropics expansion nudges cyclone formation into new areas

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald DATE: July 23, 2018 SNIP: Tropical cyclones are forming further from the equator as the planet warms, bringing new regions into the zone of the intense storms including parts of eastern Australia, new research has found. The findings are based on data for 1980-2014 analysed by Melbourne University scientists trying to understand how the expanding tropics are already affecting the development of cyclones. “In most of the ocean basins, there appears to be a decrease in tropical cyclone formation closer to the equator, accompanied by an increase in formation further away from the equator,” said Kevin Walsh, a professor at the university’s School of Earth Sciences, and a joint author of the paper published on Tuesday in Nature Climate Change. “With projections indicating continued tropical expansion [with climate change], these results indicate that tropical cyclone genesis will also continue to shift poleward, potentially increasing tropical cyclone-related hazards in higher-latitude regions,” the paper, lead-written by Sharmila Sur, said. “It’s quite alarming – policymakers need to be made aware” of the risks, and start considering taking adaptive steps such as tightening building codes, Professor Stephen Turton, a cyclone researcher and adjunct professor at Central Queensland University...