“Where climate change gets you most, is when you take a 150 year event, and then it suddenly becomes a 50 year event” – Prof Kerry Emanuel of MIT, and others, explain above.

In Ida’s remains, disaster keeps reverberating.

Jeff Masters in Yale Climate Connections:

The remnants of two hurricanes will drench separate parts of the United States from Tuesday into Wednesday, with significant flood risk in both cases. The main concern is with Tropical Depression Ida, as the storm migrates northeast and gradually merges with a pre-existing front from the Ohio Valley across southern New England, becoming post-tropical by Thursday morning. Moist tropical flow from the south toward Ida will help strengthen the front, while the location of an upper-level jet will favor rising motion near the frontal zone. Upslope flow into the higher terrain of the Appalachians will further accentuate the rainmaking potential. Moreover, soils are unusually wet across much of Tennessee and eastern Kentucky, and from eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey across southern New England, in the wake of two earlier tropical cyclones, Fred and Henri.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has tagged a belt from near Atlanta to near Pittsburgh with a Day 1 moderate risk (the second-highest of four risk levels) of excessive rain leading to flooding, through Tuesday night. There is also a moderate risk for parts of southern Arizona, where moisture streaming in from former Hurricane Nora may cause heavy showers and thunderstorms. Nora hit Mexico near Puerto Vallarta on Sunday as a category 1 hurricane, causing heavy damage.

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As Climate change continues to break systems, never more clear that a new infrastructure and energy generation system is needed, and now, fortunately, possible.

4 Cat Fours

August 31, 2021

Ida Update

August 30, 2021

Lots of Ida evaluation coming in, I suspect that, like after Katrina, we won’t get the larger picture for a day or two.

Many good reports available, this one from CNBC.

Solmaz Daryani for the New York Times

New York Times:

Parts of Afghanistan have warmed twice as much as the global average. Spring rains have declined, most worryingly in some of the country’s most important farmland. Droughts are more frequent in vast swaths of the country, including a punishing dry spell now in the north and west, the second in three years.

Afghanistan embodies a new breed of international crisis, where the hazards of war collide with the hazards of climate change, creating a nightmarish feedback loop that punishes some of the world’s most vulnerable people and destroys their countries’ ability to cope.

And while it would be facile to attribute the conflict in Afghanistan to climate change, the effects of warming act as what military analysts call threat multipliers, amplifying conflicts over water, putting people out of work in a nation whose people largely live off agriculture, while the conflict itself consumes attention and resources.

“The war has exacerbated climate change impacts. For 10 years, over 50 percent of the national budget goes to the war,” said Noor Ahmad Akhundzadah, a professor of hydrology at Kabul University, said by phone Thursday. “Now there is no government, and the future is unclear. Our current situation today is completely hopeless.”

A third of all Afghans face what the United Nations calls crisis levels of food insecurity. Because of the fighting, many people haven’t been able plant their crops in time. Because of the drought, the harvest this year is certain to be poor. The World Food Program says 40 percent of crops are lost, the price of wheat has gone up by 25 percent, and the aid agency’s own food stock is due to run out by the end of September.

Afghanistan is not the only country to face such compounding misery. Of the world’s 25 nations most vulnerable to climate change, more than a dozen are affected by conflict or civil unrest, according to an index developed by the University of Notre Dame.

In Somalia, pummeled by decades of conflict, there’s been a threefold increase in extreme weather events since 1990, compared to the previous 20 year-period, making it all but impossible for ordinary people to recover after each shock. In 2020, more than a million Somalis were displaced from their homes, about a third because of drought, according to the United Nations.

In Syria, a prolonged drought, made more likely by man-made climate change, according to researchers, drove people out of the countryside and fed simmering antigovernment grievances that led to an uprising in 2011 and ultimately, a full-blown civil war. This year again, drought looms over Syria, particularly its breadbasket region, the northeastern Hassakeh Province.

In Mali, a violent insurgency has made it harder for farmers and herders to deal with a succession of droughts and flood, according to aid agencies.

“The convergence of climate risks and conflict further worsens food and economic insecurity and health disparities, limits access to essential services, while weakening the capacity of governments, institutions and societies to provide support,” the International Committee of the Red Cross warned in a recent report that examined the combined effects of conflict and climate shocks, including in Mali.

Climate change cannot be blamed for any single war, and certainly not the one in Afghanistan. But rising temperatures, and the weather shocks that come with it, act as what Marshall Burke, a Stanford University professor, calls “a finger on the scale that makes underlying conflict worse.” That is particularly true, he argued, in places that have undergone a long conflict and where government institutions have all but dissolved.

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Bob Henson and Jeff Masters for Yale Climate Connections:

Category 4 Hurricane Ida struck a catastrophic blow on Louisiana, making landfall at the key oil industry hub of Port Fourchon at 11:55 a.m. CDT August 29, with 150 mph winds and a central pressure of 930 mb. Remarkably, today is also the 16thanniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005. Katrina, the most expensive weather disaster in world history, at $176 billion, caused between 1085 and 1389 deaths.

Only four hurricanes (all Cat 5s) have made landfall in the contiguous U.S. with stronger winds than Ida, and Ida is tied with Laura of 2020 and the 1856 Last Island Hurricane as the strongest ever to hit Louisiana. As measured by central pressure at landfall, Ida ranks as the ninth-strongest to hit the contiguous U.S., and second-strongest to hit Louisiana. Only Hurricane Katrina of 2005, with a 920 mb pressure at landfall near Buras, had a lower pressure.

Ida is the second major hurricane of the 2021 season; Grace also became a major hurricane earlier this month as it hit Mexico. The most recent Atlantic hurricane season with two or more major hurricanes by August 29 was 2005 – the year of Katrina.

Ida put on a furious display of rapid intensification overnight, with the pressure dropping from 985mb to 929mb (a fall of 56 mb) in 24 hours. As documented by Sam Lillo (see Tweet below), only nine hurricanes on record in the Atlantic have done this, with Ida being the furthest north, and the one closest to a U.S. landfall. In one 12-hour period, Ida’s pressure fell by a remarkable 40 mb – the third fastest pressure fall observed in a Gulf of Mexico hurricane since 1979. Sea surface temperature of 30-31 degrees Celsius (86-88°F) and the warm Loop Current eddy that Ida passed over were both key factors in its intensification.

At landfall, Ida was undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC), which halted intensification just before landfall, causing the pressure to rise from 929 mb to 930 mb. The ERC kept the winds at the core from increasing further, but greatly broadened the area experiencing hurricane-force winds. This is overall a bad thing for Louisiana, as it will result in more wind damage.

According to Brian McNoldy, Ida’s Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE, a measure of the total destructive power of hurricane, based on the size of its wind field) was 36 terajoules (TJ) at 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, an increase of 64% from the 22 TJ it had 24 hours previously. For comparison, Hurricane Katrina’s IKE at landfall was 113 TJ. Thus, Katrina’s surge had a lot more destructive power than Ida’s. However, Ida’s wind damage and fresh water flooding damage will likely exceed that of Katrina – particularly since Ida is hitting a key area of U.S infrastructure.

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Ida Now a Mean Cat 5

August 29, 2021


New Orleans has received over 65 inches of rain so far this year, their second wettest on record to this point of the year. This will make flooding in the region worse as Hurricane Ida approaches.

New Orleans is expecting 15-20 inches of rain with Ida.

Some more context: New Orleans averages 62 inches of rain in a year, so they have already totaled more than that with four more months to go.

 Landfall will occur on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Ida rapidly grew in strength early Sunday, becoming a dangerous Category 4 hurricane just hours before hitting the Louisiana coast while emergency officials in the region grappled with opening shelters for displaced evacuees despite the risks of spreading the coronavirus.

As Ida moved through some of the warmest ocean water in the world in the northern Gulf of Mexico, its top winds grew by 45 mph (72 kph) to 150 mph (230 kph) in five hours. The system was expected to make landfall Sunday afternoon, set to arrive on the exact date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier.

The hurricane center said Ida is forecast to hit at 155 mph (250 kph), just 1 mph shy of a Category 5 hurricane. Only four Category 5 hurricanes have made landfall in the United States: Michael in 2018, Andrew in 1992, Camille in 1969 and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Both Michael and Andrew were upgraded to category 5 long after the storm hit with further review of damage.

Ida threatened a region already reeling from a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, due to low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant.

Ida Intensifying Rapidly

August 28, 2021

Ida Update

August 28, 2021

New Orleans within boundary of predicted 10-15 inches of rain.