The climate crisis seems to be on a one-way trajectory, with even the most skilled scientist struggling to work out how to halt the progress of the damage that has already been done. Climate risks come in all shapes and sizes. Still, one of the most concerning is a triple threat that will potentially cause devastation in the short term to countries who are already struggling under the burden of other problems we have experienced as a population.
What is the Threat
The triple threat increases serious flooding risks across all areas, with some of America’s largest cities flagged as most problematic. Although flooding had already been highlighted as a potential risk of the climate crisis, it is thought that things are progressing much faster and therefore creating danger much sooner than initially forecast. The problem will come from a combination of more frequent and violent storms, heavy rainfall, and rising sea levels. In America, some of the critical cities highlighted as being at risk include Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston and New York. None of this is good news, but with an increase in overall water levels, the flooding will have no time to recede before it becomes critical.
Many areas have already seen an increase in the amount they spend on defending their homes and cities against flooding and storm damage. It is estimated that 40% of the population across the USA are located in coastal areas, and these are the most concerning. In New York City alone, the triple threat has meant the risk of flooding is now twice what it was just 60 years ago. In the 1940s, it was estimated that a storm of a four-foot-sized wave surge hitting at the same time as five inches or more of rainfall would be a once in a century event. This figure has been decreased dramatically to once every 42 years, which means this could happen more than twice a century.
No Longer Standalone Issues
What this shows is the three risks are intrinsically connected, and each impacts the other. The continued rise of sea levels negatively impacts storms making them more frequent and more extensive. The storm knock-on effect means that compound flooding builds up and does not get a chance to fall away naturally. Previously we would have assumed it would take significant rainfall to put a city like New York underwater; however, it is now thought that a storm surge would be enough to do this as a single event. While scientists scramble to join all of the dots between these three conditions, it certainly seems that climate change is the responsible factor here. Researchers will analyse data based on historical tide gauges and weather forecasts and records to see exactly what is happening.
Danger to the East Coast
It is thought that areas along the East of the country were at the highest risk when it comes to heavy rainfall and storm surges, with West Coast areas more likely to escape. However, the United Nations Science Panel offers up a projection of rising sea levels across the globe of four foot. It is concerning enough in itself but worse when you learn that this is likely to be drastically underestimated because it does not factor in the ice sheets that are melting in western Antarctica.
The Flip Side
Conversely, La Nina, which is the phenomenon of increased extreme storms, also causes changes to weather patterns in other locations that may not be affected directly by the storms. Instead, many will see much drier and hotter weather, and areas of the South of America have been highlighted at most risk. This gives more significant chances of wildfires that are even worse than those seen in 2020. In Oceania and Australia, conditions are looking to become wetter and cooler, so they too will have to face the idea of increased flooding and storms. The Horn of Africa is also projected to suffer significantly decreased rainfall causing droughts and famine and making the already complex political situation even worse for areas like Somalia and Ethiopia.
Argentina is already showing signs of low rainfall, and one of its largest crops is soybean. Failure to grow will impact their economy negatively. The weather changes will also affect countries that rely heavily on tourism. The Caribbean is one such example where they already had many hurricanes and earthquakes, so getting worse could be catastrophic. Since 1980 natural disasters have cost the area 2/3 of the economic growth each year. With tourism as their primary trade, mitigation for their losses becomes incredibly difficult, putting them in a challenging position. So not only is the triple threat from climate change damaging to the planet itself, but the knock-on effects could cause economic crises and loss of life all over the world.
Web Desk is the news author at Research Snipers which mainly covers Technology News, Microsoft News, Google News, Facebook, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, and other tech news and served by Research Snipers Staff and editors.