I subscribe to an outstanding, authoritative publication, “Scientific American.” whose November, 2021, publication includes an alarming cover article, “Vapor Storms: A wetter, warmer atmosphere is causing devastating hurricanes and flooding rains.” This blog is derived from quotes and information from that shocking article written by Jennifer A. Francis, a senior scientist and acting director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center.
While carbon dioxide equivalents-over time-have caused warmer land and seas-one indirect effect is the evaporation of water beyond that in the past.
Just in 2021; the cover article chronicles mid-July rainfall in western Germany and Belgium-“up to eight inches of rain in two days;” in China only a week later-over two feet of rain (a year’s worth) fell in only three days; in Tennessee in August a jet stream “kink” brought devastating storms that resulted in an amazing “…17 inches of rain in just 24 hours.”
Closer to home for me-New Orleans-Hurricane Ida intensified from Category 1 to a Category 4 in less than 24 hours “at twice the rate that the National Hurricane Center uses to define a rapidly intensifying storm.” There was little time to evacuate, but, thankfully, the levies held.
“What all these destructive events [above] have in common is ‘water vapor.'” This water vapor carries “latent heat” which is released as the vapor condenses back into liquid, “such as formation of a cloud…Latent heat is the main fuel that powers hurricanes, thunderstorms and normal bouts of lousy weather.”
Beyond explosive tropical storms and such, it also intensifies heat. For instance, “In July 2020 Houston’s heat index topped 110 degrees F.” In 2015 a “steam wave” hit India and Pakistan as more than 3500 people died due to the dangerous conditions.
The “water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”
While we can’t control the water vapor in the atmosphere, we can lower it though limited emissions of carbon dioxide and methane and not clearing trees.
In my opinion, each of us can do our part in our own way to lower our carbon dioxide equivalent footprint. In America, let’s refrain from much of the government “actions” that are proposed which will result in more inflation, waste, and corruption and NOT help solve this awesome problem.
My belief that government’s role should be in basic and applied research, especially to develop nuclear power-available 24 hours, non-emitting, safe despite the media, low land use compared to wind and solar, and wastes can be stored on-site until technology eventually can handle it safely. See also Mr. Bill Gate’s superb book, “How To Avoid A Climate Disaster” which quantifies, graphs, and supplies many ideas such as “Green Premiums” to overcome-with much emphasis on INNOVATION.
Another aspect to address is developing more climate change resilience.
In my opinion, Republicans will apply more practical, responsible, and effective actions to the climate change-which undoubtedly has a dire need for serious INNOVATION!