Florence and Mangkhut, Fearsome Storms a World Apart, Start to Release Their Grip

Dozens of Times journalists are covering two powerful storm systems on opposite sides of the globe. Here’s an overview of our coverage.

Comments: 19

  1. Warmer land, air and water combine to put more water vapor in the air, and to make storms bigger and stronger.

    One of the consequences of global warming is bigger, stronger, wetter storms, like Florence and Mangkhut.

    We are seeing many more such "record" storms, year after yer. When I was a child 70 years ago, such storms rarely if ever happened.

    ExxonMobil has known for years that climate change is real. They did the research back in the 1970s.


    Exxon's Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too.


    We are also seeing glaciers melting all over the world.

    The evidence is overwhelming.

    Mother Nature does not care what you or I believe. Mother Nature responds to fundamental scientific principles, such as those of physics and chemistry.

  2. Other questions cross my mind based on the observation that recent very large storms have tended to "sit and spin", dumping extraordinary amounts of water over limited areas.

    Examples are Harvey and now Florence.

    One other such example occurs on Jupiter: The Giant Red Spot, which we now understand to be an enormous storm, that has not moved in centuries.

    So a preliminary question is this: What causes storms to move? Answer: pressure differentials in the atmosphere, and currents that are generated by the differentials.

    Second question: How big a differential, or how strong a current does one need to move a storm? The larger the storm, and the more water vapor it holds, the more mass and the more inertia it will have. My surmise is that the force needed to move such a storm will be larger than that needed to move a smaller storm.

    One other factor in global warming that has been noted is the reduction in the strength of the circumpolar air current as the temperature differential across that air current is reduced.

    Final question: Does global warming reduce the intensity of air currents that drive storms along their path or trajectory?

    If that is true, add to the analysis the surmise that the bigger, wetter, stronger storms are also going to hang around and dump rain for extended periods of time, and that such will be the "new normal." That is truly scary.

    Any technical discussion will be appreciated.

  3. @Joe From Boston Here is something that you might find interesting:


    "The currents that bring warm Atlantic water northwards towards the pole, where they cool, sink and return southwards, is the most significant control on northern hemisphere climate outside the atmosphere. But the system, formally called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), has weakened by 15% since 1950, thanks to melting Greenland ice and ocean warming making sea water less dense and more buoyant.

    This represents a massive slowdown – equivalent to halting all the world’s rivers three times over, or stopping the greatest river, the Amazon, 15 times. Such weakening has not been seen in at least the last 1,600 years, which is as far back as researchers have analysed so far. Furthermore, the new analyses show the weakening is accelerating."

  4. It is pointed out elsewhere in this paper that one big reason people don't evacuate is financial. We could do more to help people, if we wanted to. That is the greatest defining difference between a Republican and a Democrat. It is more than a difference of opinion about policy. It defines our character.

  5. Is it too late to save ourselves from what we have done to the climate?

  6. @George Kamburoff It is possible that it is too late to save the world as we have known it. Lot's of scientists are feeling pretty gloomy about it.


    "The authors of the essay, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stress their analysis is not conclusive, but warn the Paris commitment to keep warming at 2C above pre-industrial levels may not be enough to “park” the planet’s climate at a stable temperature.

    They warn that the hothouse trajectory “would almost certainly flood deltaic environments, increase the risk of damage from coastal storms, and eliminate coral reefs (and all of the benefits that they provide for societies) by the end of this century or earlier.”"

  7. Exxon-Mobile and other oil companies should be required to pay 75% of profits into a superfund to help pay for these catastrophic weather events they caused by fossil fuel related climate change. For the last 70 years they knew burning fossil fuels would destroy and destabilize our climate as an externalized cost of doing business, but they actively suppressed and denied that important fact. And for what? For pure greed. Now these catastrophic weather events are our new normal. Congratulations, Exxon. You broke it? You bought it.

  8. @Stephanie

    Stop driving your car if you want to change the climate. Coming from a person who lives in LA, this comment is rich. Exxon only produces the product, YOU consume it. Think about that.

  9. To "Ruevenator," Exxon-Mobile does more than just produce fuel which we consume. They give millions of dollars to politicians who deny climate change and fight regulations which might save this planet.

  10. I am so sick of this argument that global warming etc. “harms humanity.” As if the only legitimate concern is the damage to people. What about harm to animals, oceans, ecosystems, food chain, all of nature? “Humanity” does not exist apart. Nonly are we wrecking our own future, we are wrecking the future of the ecosystem as anything that can support the diversity of life - on which we depend.

  11. The scary part of the climate change events is that it is not the new normal. That would imply that the climate has hit a plateau.

    Instead, we can expect the climate to worsen for at least the rest of this century if we stop co2 pollution now.

  12. And now people who built in dangerous low-lying areas because their politicians told them sea level rise and climate change was a non-issue will be expecting the rest of us to bail them out from their underwater homes. I sympathize with their predicament but eventually we're all going to have to wake up to reality: We're approaching the precipice.

  13. How much do these two storms impact each other? In exoñogy there’s discussion of the “butterfly effect” which makes me wonder about the physics of our planet’s atmosphere and how the weather and climate change in one part of the planet causes or contributes to or reduces the chances or impact of weather elsewhere in the world. Exploring that angle with regard to these two simultaneous storms would make an interesting Science article or series.

  14. “Ecology” has butterfly effect concept

  15. People who chose to stay & ignored mandatory evacuation should not be expecting to be rescued. You chose to stay...deal with it. Don't call 9-1-1 & whine. Write you name & information on your arm & wait it out on the roof.

  16. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are people who can't afford to miss a day of work, meaning they cannot afford to evacuate (and many of whom had to work until yesterday). Who do you think was working the register and helping customers at stores while people stocked up on supplies? People not following evacuation orders is much more complex than a personal choice. Let's have some compassion.

  17. @Nostradamus Said So

    There has been an article here in the NYT (or was it THE GUARDIAN) explaining that 56% of the people who chose to stay do not have a car, while 100% who evacuate do. It shows that all those who stay are in the bottom 20% of the income level in their community. Many people cannot afford to spend 4-5 days away and do not have people they can stay with. But who will acknowledge that in an interview.

  18. Category four is not a monster storm. Florence certainly is not a monster storm now or when it came ashore. Save that term for the truly bad ones. Otherwise people will ignore warnings to evacuate when they really need to.

  19. Well, hurricanes seem to do most of their damage in the South, which is where you find most of the people who deny the existence of climate change, so, ultimately, you might say what we have here is a self-cleaning oven.