Thursday, December 4, 2014

Typhoon Ruby.

Tropical storm "Hagupit" is headed our way and is expected to hit Philippines sometime Saturday. According to PAGASA Deputy Administrator Dr. Landrico Dalida, Jr.,there is a 75% chance that the storm will hit land, and 25% of it changing track and heading northward.

Once the storm enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) it will be referred to as typhoon Ruby. Indications are that Ruby will be a "super" typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph, and gusts of up to 190 kph.

Forty-four provinces were declared critical areas by the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration(PAGASA). While the province I live in (Negros Oriental) is listed among the 44 critical provinces, the province in most danger is Eastern Samar where typhoon Yolanda - AKA Haiyan - caused extensive damage last year.

We're getting prepared. We've stocked up on the essentials - bottled water, rice, canned food and LP gas. We're hoping that our worst problem will be disruption of electricity. Even with the strong winds and rain, the house, which is built from concrete blocks, should be OK. God willing, we won't experience flooding in our area.

Of course, in today's world, we can't talk about typhoons - super or otherwise - without mention of climate change. A German think-tank, Germanwatch, announced from Lima, Peru that "Philippines, Cambodia and India were most affected by extreme weather events in 2013."

“We all remember the images of the catastrophic Typhoon Haiyan, which wiped out entire regions and took the lives of more than 6000,” said Sönke Kreft, author of the study and Team Leader for International Climate Policy at Germanwatch. “It was the most severe tropical storm ever to make landfall."

In Climate Change circles, super typhoons, such as Yolanda and Ruby, are called "extreme weather events". While I make no claims to be a scientist, it's difficult to imagine that these "extreme weather events" are not brought about by climate change. The questions that remain are, how much of this climate activity is caused by humans and what can we do about it?

There was a good deal of chin wagging and patting on backs after China and the US pledged last month to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Now, the Chinese maintain "that progress is likely to be stymied by differences between the developed and developing world - with the US the main culprit".

I'm not putting much hope in humans being able to deal with this.

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