Storms of inequality

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The storm clouds are gathering once again. This season seems to be one of the worst on record for bad weather in the Atlantic with hurricane Harvey, Irma and soon Jose battering the islands of the Gulf of Mexico and the southern United States. Just so you know, two-thirds of the strongest hurricanes (Class 4 or 5) make landfall on either the Florida or Texas coast.

Winds of up to two hundred miles an hour, a month’s rainfall in a day and storm surges as high as a house have led to huge swathes of devastation. Not that this doesn’t happen on the other side of the world as well, only we get to hear more from the States as our news flows in the same direction as our weather.

Storms have been named for some time now. It has become a convention to make them more meaningful and hopefully easier to manage. Names are recycled on a periodic basis yet the names of those storms that have been amongst the most destructive and costly are retired out of respect. We will never hear the name Katrina used again in this context.

Storms are part of the conveyor weather system that equalises energy inequalities across the globe. As the sun beats down around the equator the seas are warmed up and water evaporates. Warm air carries more water vapour than does cold air and as the weather system moves northward eventually this falls as rain. The more heat, the more water vapour and the more rain. As sea temperatures rise and the energy inequalities across the globe are greater than the bigger the storms we will see.

As I have said this season seems to have been one of the worst yet there are many more storms developing across the world. There is continuing unrest in the Middle East, great concern over North Korea, and yet more refugees pouring out of Myanmar. These are people storms caused by human inequalities across the globe.

The greater these inequalities then the bigger these storms are going to be.

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