“Off the Charts”: Deadliest Storm in History Kills 1200, Displaces Millions in Philippines

ABC News reports on Super-Typhoon Haiyan, which is now estimated to have killed at least 1200 in the Philippines, and which forced millions from their homes, with winds of 195 miles per hour and gusts of over 200 miles per hour. Other storms have been larger and killed many more (mainly because they stuck around longer and caused floods) but we don’t have evidence of others being this deadly with regard to the intensity of the winds. Merriam-Webster gives “deadly” as “causing or able to cause death.” This storm was the ablest of all in that respect.

Given that some waters of the Pacific Ocean have warmed 15 times faster in the past 60 years than in the previous 10,000, as a result of human carbon dioxide and methane pollution, a climate has been created in which stronger and stronger typhoons can be expected.

AP interviews “Hugh Willoughby, professor of meteorology at Florida International University,” who “says Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed the Philippines, is so powerful that instruments can’t measure its force.” Willoughby warns that global climate change, which is heating up the seas and putting more water vapor in the air, will have two results. Typhoons and hurricanes 1) may become a little rarer. But 2) those that arise will be far more intense, with faster wind speeds and more rain. That is, we are making a future with our carbon emissions of serial disasters that are “off the charts” and for which we do not even currently have scales.

Haiyan is like the first of a ferocious new species of carnivore, heralding an onslaught on the human race.

7 Responses

  1. while the atlantic hurricane season, closing this month, has been remarkably quiet, for the second straight year mexico’s pacific coast has been hammered by hurricanes, most notably this year.

  2. There is a great deal of discussion whether or not global warming causes more intense hurricanes and/or more hurricanes. I do not profess to know the answer.

    There is also a great deal of insincere discussion whether global warming is anthropogenic, i.e. man-made.

    Neither of these questions require a rocket scientist to answer, though I have a cousin who was one and I know some. I might even have been one had it not been for a certain coed and some short-term decisions. I digress.

    The first order effect of burning fossil fuel is take carbon in the ground that was in the form of C8H18 and other organic molecules, and to put that carbon into the atmosphere in the form of CO2.

    The first-order effect of increased CO2 in the atmosphere is to increase the average temperature of the surface by blocking out a fraction of the infra-red radiation that encounters to troposphere or the stratosphere or the ionosphere. One of the spheres.

    The first order effect of a warmer planet is (a) reduced soil moisture on land, and (b) more energy in the ocean in the form of higher temperature.

    (a) A discussion for another time, but one wonders whether the beleaguered Palestinians might consider emigrating en mass to sparsely populated northern latitudes where the soil is at least as fertile as sand, there is more water, and fewer water thieving Israelis.

    (b) The first order effect of warmer oceans, besides ecosystem collapse, is more energy available for massive storms.

    To put it bluntly America, your fascination with SUV’s killed a bunch of people in the Philippines.

  3. coastal cities around the world, are going to get hammered.

    All of us, allow this to happen.

  4. In November, 1962, Guam was hit by Typhoon Karen, which had gusts to 212 MPH, as measured by an anemometer on the building where my Dad worked.
    The Wiki entry notes that, since then, estimates of the storm’s strength have been revised downward, based on what I don’t know. The peak gusts are not reported anymore. But Karen might have been stronger that Haiyan.

    I also met Typhoon Nancy in 1961, who is reported to have had peak gusts of 213 mph, but not that high where I lived.

    Tropical Cyclone Olivia, which struck Australia in 1996, reportedly had winds measured at 253 mph.

  5. Speed of change caused by man is scale of magnitude larger than any in Earth’s history.
    Right now the Arctic is engulfed in Dipole Hurricane with counter rotation of storm North of Alaska and the whole thing is forcing 2 meter sea ice out into Atlantic to melt.
    The forecast for Nov 13th is in this Arctic News article:
    link to arctic-news.blogspot.com Earth may be switching to single overall flow of Heat rise and sink, equator to pole instead of present 3 way.
    This can give rise to huge increase of erratic storm formation and the increase in water vapor in sky along with the force of temperature rise and what that means to entropy

  6. The storm surge (at least 15 feet high and as far inland as five miles) has caused horrific devastation across the Philippines.

    Coastal dwellers need to understand that the threat of “wipe-you-off-the-map” surge flooding is likely to destroy cities long before the oceans rise enough to permanently cover coastal land.

    Many of our biggest U.S. urban centers (New York, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco) are on or very near the coast.

    Imagine the impact if these cities were washed over by 15 foot high waves that ran five miles inland.

    Imagine if all our military capability could leap into action to provide rescue assistance with the same speed with which it now leaps into war.

    Military cargo planes would already be dropping thousands of buoyant packets of water and food across Haiyan’s devastation (just as we scatter PSYOP leaflets) and cargo drones would be going back and forth from offshore naval ships to lower goods into inaccessible areas.

    Imagine that. Drones bringing aid instead of drones bringing death.

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