As a result of climate change, humanity is expected to face growing numbers of destructive storms in the future.
A typhoon is raging in Japan. Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas. A terrifying cyclone is laying waste to the Arabian Peninsula. From time to time, newspapers report on storms with titles
such as those… But what is the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon and a tropical cyclone?
The answer is simpler than you’d think. Apart from their geographical origin, they are all the
same kinds of storms.
Hurricanes are storms that form over the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and in the Northeast Pacific. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami is responsible for monitoring them.
The storm systems that emerge in the Northwest Pacific are called typhoon, they are monitored by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA). In the Pacific, the date line is the boundary, which is roughly equivalent to the 180th meridian.
Cyclones are the tropical storms of the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. The former region is monitored by Australia, the latter by India.
Along with the differences in names, the storm season is at different times of the year in various parts of the world, as well. The Atlantic hurricane season is officially from 1 June to 30 November, but the Pacific season already begins in May. Typhoons can actually form at any time of the year, but they are most likely to occur between May and October. There is no specific period in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. In the southern oceans, there is a higher chance of cyclones forming from early or mid-November until the end of April or the beginning of May.
“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine. It’s the place where we can see and touch and hear and feel climate change in action.” Internationally recognised nature photographer James Balog believes it is extremely important to pay attention to the processes underway in the polar regions.
Rising sea levels caused by climate change and global warming are an increasing threat to the Netherlands, so the Dutch have started using an innovative device, a storm surge barrier to protect against them. The world’s largest storm surge barrier was built in the south of the country, at Maeslantkering.
The melting of glaciers has broken new records in Switzerland this year; they lost two percent of their ice mass this summer, while over the last five years, they have lost 10 percent of their volume altogether, which is unprecedented in the existing records spanning over 100 years.
The typhoon raging in Japan has claimed more than fifty lives; the number of injured has exceeded two hundred.
The rising sea levels and melting permafrost caused by climate change are causing crisis situations in a number of places around the world, resulting in tens of thousands of people having to leave their homes, while important agricultural areas also fall victim to the changes.
Climate change is causing severe problems in Antarctica, too: recently, a piece of ice weighing 315 billion tonnes broke off the area, while scientists investigating satellite images covering an area of 5 million square kilometres found tens of thousands of meltwater lakes, which indicates severe problems.
Massive snowstorms hit a number of north-western and northern states of the USA on 29 September.
Monsoon rain accompanied by storms and lightning hit the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India on 27 September. Tempestuous winds toppled trees and utility poles and tore off roofs, killing more than a hundred people.
On 24 September, the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) issued an avalanche warning on the Planpincieux Glacier, which is located on the eastern slope of the Grandes Jorasses peak.
More than a thousand people were evacuated or rescued in Houston, Texas, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States on 19 September due to Tropical Storm Imelda.