Extreme Weather Watch
THE STORM OF THE CENTURY, USA, March 1993
Cold air moving South-East collided with Warm TROPICAL MARITIME air over the Gulf of Mexico = SEVERE DEPRESSION
- HURRICANE FORCE WINDS: max speeds of 232 km/hr
- HEAVY RAINFALL/SNOWFALL: average snowfall at 900 mm/hr, drifts of 3m
- HUGE WAVES/STORM SURGES: Nova Scotia, waves 20m high
- FLOODING: inland Nova Scotia and New England was flooded
- UNSEASONAL AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS: tornadoes in Florida
- LOWEST TEMPERATURE: -12 'c
- LOWEST AIR PRESSURE: 962.8 mb
- DEATHS: 291
- TOTAL DAMAGE COSTS: >$6 million
Extreme Weather Impacts: Hurricane in MEDC
HURRICANE KATRINA, USA, AUGUST 2005
One of the worse Hurricanes to ever hit USA. Damage costs = $84 billion, Deaths = 1,836. Is an example of bad management and preparedness, due to the failure of the NEW ORLEANS levee system. Tropical depression formed in Bahamas, moved West across to USA, category 5 over sea, category 3 when it made landfall on 29th August. Max Wind Speeds = 280km/hr, Lowest pressure = 902mb.
ECONOMIC IMPACTS: 30 offshore oil platforms destroyed. Reduced Oil production by 25% for 6months. Forestry, port trade and grain severely affected. Thousands unemployed (less taxes). Economic Impact = $150 billion.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS: storm surge destroyed barrier islands and Gulf beaches. 20% wetland lost (affecting wildlife breeding). 5,300km2 of Forest and woodland destroyed. Flood water contaminated Lake Pontchartrain.
SOCIAL IMPACTS: Over 1million people evacuated, displaced, homeless. Major Roads damaged, bridges collapsed. Power Lines brought down. Water and food supplies contaminated.
Extreme Weather Impacts: Flooding in MEDC
GLOUCESTER FLOODS, UK, JULY 2007
Caused by HEAVY RAINFALL in previous months (antecedent conditions) resulted in saturated grounds for the River Severn. This event corresponded with a La Nina year, changing the position of the North Polar Jet Stream causing Britain to experience bad weather: heavy rainfall and sever depressions.
IMPACTS: Gloucester was under 1metre of water, 3 people died, thousands of homes flooded, 48,000 without electricity, evacuation procedures. £25 million in road damage
Tewkesbury, water treatment plant contaminated and shut down. 12 million litres of drinking water to 350,000 people stopped. Flood defences installed immediately. Total cost: £25-35 million
Rest of UK, Flights cancelled, 50% of crops ruined (impact on agriculture and economy). Leeds annual fair cancelled- £50million loss to local economy. Total impact throughout UK= £3 Billion
Extreme Weather Impacts: Flooding in LEDC
FLOODING IN BANGLADESH, JUNE-SEPTEMBER 2007
Bangladesh is built on flood plains of 4 major Rivers: Brahmaputra, Meghna, Ganges, Wang. Largest River delta in the world! Antecedent Conditions were unusually heavy rainfall for the monsoon season and a storm formed in Bay of Bengal. 15% above average rainfall. In Bangladesh, 31.5% of population are in poverty (earning under $1 a day). Therefore population are more vulnerable.
IMPACTS: main highway umpassable, all 6 districts flooded, 5million people displaced, Deaths = 500 people.
As a result, flood defences are being improved, soft engineering methods and simple technology is key. Dikes and water-retaining structures built. Bangladesh relies heavily on Earth Embankments, but poor management and the inadequate nature of them made them easily breached in 2007.
Extreme Weather Impacts: Drought in an MEDC
THE BIG DRY, AUSTRALIA, 2002 ON
Drought is a period of below average rainfall, over 3 months, it is a creeping hazard, therefore hard to predict. Worst drought in 100 years. Worse affected area is the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB)- South east of Australia, provides 40% of agricultural produce, 95% of water removed from basin is for irrigation. El Nino affects Australia, oscillations in the pacific ocean causes extremely high pressure in Australia which induces very high temperatures, and therefore droughts are more likely.
ECONOMIC IMPACTS: 1% of economy wiped. Affected 34% of Rural, and 10% of Urban businesses. Farming resource base eroded, affecting industry, farm incomes reduced, financial ruin, debt for most Australian Farmers
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS: Production of irrigate crops reduced. Harvests destroyed. Loss of vegetation and wildlife. Soil Erosion. Wildfires endangered wildlife. Declining water quality. The river became very saline
SOCIAL IMPACTS: Water shortages threatened political agreements, conflicts arose between states. Rural communities suffered outward migration. Suicide rate soared.Food prices rose. Water bills increased 20%.
Extreme Weather Impacts: Weather Systems
ANTICYCLONES IN UK
High pressure weather systems. can often be stationary and blocking so result in longer term weather.
THE 'BIG FREEZE', WINTER OF 1962
High pressure = 1050mb.Harbours and Rivers froze including the River Thames, industries relying on river halted. minimum temperature = -16'c. 36 hour blizzard, drifts over 6m. Food supplies ran low and the price of fresh produce increased 30%
HEATWAVE, SUMMER OF 2003
Blocking anticyclone fell over western Europe inducing very high temperatures with little wind and very dry conditions. Originated from Sahara in Africa. 70,000 Europeans died. Sever health crisis, droughts and forest fires resulted. Crop harvest fell 12%
Managing Extreme Weather: Drought in MEDC
MANAGING THE DROUGHT HAZARD IN AUSTRALIA
general points: - Seek out new supplies. -Hosepipe bands, water metering, education, campaigns. -Water from aquifers and other reservoirs, repair leaking infrastructure, government plans and initiatives. - Reduce irrigation use, use gene technology, shift to Mediterranean crops, New technology -Recycle water, reuse 'grey' water, reduce water use.
In Australia: $10 billion water management scheme: january 2007: Modernisation of Irrigation Systems, Boost water efficiency for farms, Assess water use of MDB.
$2 billion National Plan for Water Security: focusses on MDB, water infrastructure improvements, improved management of scarce water resources
Changes in Agriculture such as: GM Drought Resistant Crops and Sustainable farming will change farming techniques to fit Australia's climate, which is set to worsen with current Climate Change model predictions. And the introduction of De-Salination plants will induce a larger water supply which is drought-proof.
Managing Extreme Weather: Drought in LEDC
MANAGING THE DROUGHT HAZARD IN AFRICA.
-use of simple methods/technology: bunds, magic stones, berkhads (underground rainwater tanks), pumps, new wells, communally built facilities.
-adapt farm techniques: Change from nomads to cultivators, use of drought resistant crops (this is expensive though!) use of intermediate technology
-recycling/conserving water: collect and store rain water from wet season, separate clean and 're-usable' water.
Located example: Somalia: Eastern Africa located in the Sub-tropical highs (climate prone to high pressure, low rainfall, high temperatures). Many Somalians have become SUBSISTENCE FARMERS using a drought resistant crop = ENSET. Conflicts have arisen due to water supply shortages. Help of NGO's and use of community labour and skills has insured that Berkhads and Bunds were built.
Managing Extreme Weather: Hurricanes in MEDC
Hurricane management in USA
PREDICTION AND TRACKING: Main source of extreme weather information comes from National Weather Service provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA, www.nws.noaa.gov). And the National Hurrican Center in Miami, this identifies, tracks and reports on hurricane activity.
Hurricane Preparedness Week educates and informs people about hurricanes, their vulnerability, actions they should take and how to reduce the effect of a hurricane disaster.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, www.fema.gov)
Hurricane Katrina is an example of poor hurricane management, due to the slow response of FEMA, and failure of the levees protecting New Orleans. Warnings such as HURRICANE WATCH were issued before the hurricane hit. There were significant problems with transportation and fuel suupplies, and loss of power and drinking water.
Plans for future management strategies include flood walls and restoration of wetlands.