Brown ocean effect

What maps would look like if they showed only solid land. The light blue indicates swamps, marshes, and wetlands.

Hurricane Ida grew quickly powerful after just a couple of days before roaring ashore and inundating people who have seen it before and likely will again:

By the time Hurricane Ida made landfall in Port Fourchon, La., on Sunday, it was the poster child for a climate change-driven disaster. The fast-growing, ferocious storm brought 150-mile-per-hour wind, torrential rain and seven feet of storm surge to the most vulnerable part of the U.S. coast. It rivals the most powerful storm ever to strike the state.

“This is exactly the kind of thing we’re going to have to get used to as the planet warms,” said Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies the physics of hurricanes and their connection to the climate.

And the recent UN Climate report aside, scientists have been talking about this for years:

previous NASA-funded research by Theresa Andersen and J. Marshall Shepherd making the case that a “brown ocean effect” — evaporation from moist warm soils — can energize tropical systems.

A NASA news release on the 2013 research explained:

Before making landfall, tropical storms gather power from the warm waters of the ocean. Storms in the newly defined category derive their energy instead from the evaporation of abundant soil moisture – a phenomenon that Andersen and Shepherd call the “brown ocean.”

“The land essentially mimics the moisture-rich environment of the ocean, where the storm originated,” Andersen said.

The map above says it all, and when we look at the photos from Sunday-Monday, listen to what we tell ourselves about what we see.

Image via the New Yorker

Objective Annihilation

As objective annihilation passes into more or less likely scenarios dependent on what actions we take – vs. other scenarios (Cold War) which had to take into account the actions others might take against us, we begin to look for signals about how the culture is handling the ‘actions we take’ thing. In the round, it’s largely what this blog is, or should be, about.

Certainly, many now say that terrorists belong to the later scenario outlined above. But their actions have done nothing if not emphasize their belief in the former as the best way to bring western society to its knees.

But whether we’re taking measures to change things, and whether these even measures matter, becomes a matter of great concern, locally but especially to corporate business interests highly invested in selling us things. The perceptions of either might even be considered more important than the answer on both, at least to these larger, multi-tentacled entities.

Which is all to ask, what do people believe about corporate attempts/postures on ‘going green’? Even that term is still evolving, slower than we’d like, of course – we want to see change in 140 characters or we’re convinced it isn’t happening. But it is, maybe becoming more plain and tangible or more insidious, depending on how you brew your cynicism.

But is it still growing, or was it just a fashion and have we seen the zenith of eco-concern? (Annihilation vogue?) This is a real question, pointing to perception beyond the actual events. The hockey stick has been re-confirmed again, for example, but the constant badgering of the fossil fuel confederate right wing has an affect. Most Republicans now believe the president is a Muslim, after all.

The question of ‘do you think it’s working’ confers a much more nefarious kind of survey.