Rare Grey Swan Hurricanes Could Pose Big Hazards

Posted: Sep 1 2015, 4:04am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 1 2015, 4:14am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Rare Grey Swan Hurricanes Could Pose Big Hazards
Toward the end of this century (project here for the years 2068 to 2098) the possibility of storm surges of eight to 11 meters (26 to 36 feet) increases significantly in cities not usually expected to be vulnerable to tropical storms, according to recent research in the journal Nature Climate Change. CREDIT: Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel
  • Fierce Grey Swans Storms may cause Extensive Damage

It has been estimated by meteorologists that fierce Grey Swans storms may cause extensive damage.

While they can be forecast from before, Grey Swans storms are very troublesome phenomena. These causes of “weather worry” have been known to be a rarity. But they also present challenges to mankind.

That is because they are so devastating in the amount of damage they cause. The experts at Princeton and MIT have used computerized models. These predict these harsh storms that occur in the tropics. They could spell doom and gloom for some of the major cities of the world.

Termed Grey Swans, the storms are a variant of the lexicon phrase “Black Swan”. The Black Swan Phenomenon is based on unpredictable events. They come down on weak entities in one fell swoop.

Grey Swans storms are slightly less catastrophic, hence the name. The hazards they pose to city infrastructure and nuclear power plants means one thing. And that is that administrative planners will have to be extra careful. They are an extreme case of a SNAFU just waiting to happen.

"We are considering extreme cases," said Ning Lin, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton. "These are relevant for policy making and planning, especially for critical infrastructure and nuclear power plants."

In a recent article published on August 31 in Nature Climate Change, the dangers Grey Swans storms pose for major cities of Florida, Australia and UAE got discussed. Heightened levels of flooding could occur in these cities in the near future.

The chances are low but nevertheless they are there. Tampa Bay, Florida is one such area that is prone to Grey Swans storms. As global warming increases on a worldwide level, the Grey Swans storms will become a more frequent situation.

By the end of the 21st century, things would probably be pretty chaotic. Black Swan events such as September 11th and the 2008 Big Economic Crunch may be an out-of-the-blue series of events. But Grey Swans are more likely to get detected on the radar.

Even such huge deluges as Hurricane Katrina do not come under the Black Swan rubric. They were not unusual. That is seeing the havoc mankind is wreaking upon the planet’s environmental balance. Heavy pollution, irreversible resource depletion and nuclear fallout are the “triad of troubles”.

They represent the garbage generated by our present century. It will be a miracle if we manage to escape the clutches of this Catch-22 situation we find ourselves stuck in. The scientists may build all the computer models they like.

But unless and until something is done on a real level, things will only get worse. The earth can only take so much of mankind’s tinkering with its delicate ecosystems and food webs. Beyond a certain point, it will be a case of no return.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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