Hello OnAir Readers!
As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, Typhoon Haiyan smashed into the Philippines a week ago, traveling from there to Vietnam and China. The damages and mortality rates are staggering: 10,000 people have been estimated for the minimum death number, and 600,000 more are homeless.
This catastrophe is not alone, as in the past 10 years we’ve witnessed destructive natural disasters over and over again. Recent studies have suggested that these events may very well be linked to environmental destruction such as deforestation, etc. The areas with such destruction seem to cause an increase in global warming (no surprise there) due to their release of extremely damaging amounts of carbon into our atmosphere.
This latest typhoon is more than likely just going to add to this pattern of carbon dumping, although the amount of carbon that Haiyan’s aftermath will release is yet unknown. We can, however, look to past events and their figures for more information.
In order to put this into some perspective for you guys, let’s turn to Hurricane Katrina here in the US. When Katrina hit in 2005, the amount of carbon released equaled 105 teragrams. To put it into clearer terms, that well is over half of the amount of carbon that ALL of the forests in the US absorb on an annual basis. In the case of the disaster in the Phillipines, the tree tally is already over the 320 million trees uprooted by Katrina. However, luckily for the Philippines, their average coverage of forest is much higher than that of Eastern US areas.
What is interesting to note is that the amount of carbon released does not absolutely correspond with the areas that received the most damage during a typhoon; in fact, the greatest carbon loss during Katrina was found on the very outer edges of the damaged regions. This would be good news if trees were able to regenerate rapidly enough to combat the carbon loss. Also, it is important to take into consideration is that a recent study of the northwest Pacific region has shown that the wind speeds and rainfall rates have been predicted to increase significantly over the next twenty years in reference to tropical storms. If this is true, then the damage from Typhoon Haiyan and those tropical storms to follow, may never fully recover and unfortunately even for those of us on the opposite side of the world will be negatively affected by them in one way or another.
OnAir says: What do you think? Do you agree with these climate conclusions? What sorts of things have you seen around the news? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below!