Changing Tides

Changing Tides

By: Michael Kyllo-Kittleson

With Hurricane Sandy pounding our east coast accompanied by all the talk, news coverage, and photographs surfacing of the damage it makes one wonder, have storms always been this bad? Have they always caused this much destruction? To me, the answer is easy. Yes, storms are getting worse and worse.

And scientists have been finding the research to back that up.

Through everything, a troubling question emerges, will one of these “super storms” ultimately lead to the end of the world?

The Washington Examiner released a story in 2010 about the strange weather bombarding the area. From “Snowpocalypse” to Tropical Storm Irene, Washington, quite frankly, got really beat up by Mother Nature.

The strange weather changes sparked the Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center to conduct a study called, “When it Rains, It Pours,” and it looked at the weather patterns and statistical data from storms nationwide between the years 1948 and 2011.

The Examiner says, “it found the Mid-Atlantic region ranked second in the nation (behind New England) for the largest increase in the frequency of storms with heavy precipitation. These storms have also produced on average 23 percent more precipitation than the ones that occurred 64 years ago. A severe storm that only happened once a year in 1948 now will happen every 7.7 months on average.”

That is nuts… a severe storm increased from once a year to every 7.7 months, so basically twice a year?! That’s a big difference when you think about the amount of damage, costs, and personal struggle these storms bring.

TIME has also been investigating these changes in weather and storms. In 2008 they released a story discussing opinions on the increase of storms and their strengths. They write flood storms have caused the most damage across the globe.

They write, “The number of flood and storm disasters has gone up 7.4% every year in recent decades, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters… Of the total 197 million people affected by disasters in 2007, 164 million were affected by floods.”

That’s a lot of people affected and a lot of damaged priorities and countries.

So what is to blame for all the global changes? While there are other ideas, such as increased solar activity, the most popular theory is the all common “global warming” stance.

We’ve all heard it, our carbon emissions and footprints are much too large and are ruining the environment. Whether or not you believe it there are undeniable changes in disasters directly related to storms: mass floods, hurricanes, monsoons, earthquakes, extreme record-breaking temperatures at both ends of the scale. The list goes on and on.

Another interesting idea TIME presented was that we are experiencing massive changes and destruction because of our migration patterns. We are moving closer and closer to the coasts, pushing civilization to the edge of what we can handle. I mean, geez, New Orleans is below sea level! Who thought that would be a good idea!!!

Whatever the reasons, these storms don’t seem like they’re going to decrease or “calm down” any time soon so what can we expect? Going back to Sandy, it has just begun and the images are shocking. Between the death toll, costly destruction and people without power, I can only imagine what the final tally of damage will be. And who will be next? Will we see more storms like these, who have also rocked countries of the far east? Countries like Sri Lanka, Japan, and Haiti are still recovering.

So is that how the world will end? A super storm that comes and wipes the globe piece by piece until we have no more inhabitable land to live on? We only have so many resources, and we only have so much money to pour into recovery. What happens when it all dries up?

Time will tell unless we are able to reverse the changing tides.

Hey, Fox! Thanks for the awesome radar photo!