Hurricanes, typhoons, tropical cyclones: these are creatures of tropical seas, which sweep up heat laden waters and convert to wind, rain, and waves. But why do a rare few evolve into colossal monsters, that leave in their wake a trail of destruction, death, and despair? Do we now face a rising tide of Super Hurricanes and Typhoons?
A Columbia University report takes a global look at this trend by identifying major disaster hot spots: the east coast of North America, Bangladesh, the Philippines, the east coast of China. These hurricane-prone coastlines, with their dense population centers, hold enormous potential for economic loss and loss of life.
To make matters worse, the oceans have gotten steadily warmer over the last few decades, adding potency to the hurricane’s fuel. Sea levels are expected to rise by as much as a meter by the end of the century, increasing the risks of storm surge.
Considering that more and more people are moving to coastlines around the world, drawn by a combination of jobs and lifestyle, there is a significant potential for disaster.
As more people pack the coastlines, man and nature are in the midst of an excruciating head-on collision. Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston in 2008. The cost in 2010 dollars: 28 billion. Andrew hit Miami in 1992. 45 billion. Sandy swept into New Jersey in 2012. 60 billion. Katrina in New Orleans: 106 billion. Not to mention the loss of thousands of lives.
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