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Global warming’s extra challenge to Fire Agencies

Why more monster hurricanes like Patricia are expected on a warmer planet.

Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever measured by the U.S. National Hurricane Centre, based on both its wind speed (175 knots) and its minimum central pressure (880 millibars). This follows hurricane Haiyan, another super-sized event. Is this now the norm? According to experts there are two events that suggest Emergency workers should be preparing for more of these events changing the face of traditional emergency services, such as fire departments. The first reason is the presence of an El Nino year which generally leads to hyperactive hurricane activity in the Eastern Pacific basin. New computer modelling undertaken by the MIT hurricane centre on the impact of climate change raises the questions about longstanding predictions of global warming that will raise ocean temperatures and therefore will also strengthen these storms.

Summarizing the current research, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts it this way: “Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones globally to be more intense on average. This change would imply an even larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size.” With these widespread predictions that hurricanes should become stronger, on average, in a warmer world, agencies need to be gearing up for a new normal.

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Asia Pacific Fire, Editor

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