How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters 氣候變遷 將使更多災難同時發生
Global warming is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, involving so many types of phenomena, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time, researchers say.
This chilling prospect is described in a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, a respected academic journal, that shows the effects of climate change across a broad spectrum of problems, including heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, drought and shortages of clean water.
Such problems are already coming in combination, said the lead author, Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He noted that Florida had recently experienced extreme drought, record high temperatures and wildfires — and also Hurricane Michael, the powerful Category 4 storm that slammed into the Panhandle this summer. Similarly, California is suffering through the worst wildfires the state has ever seen, as well as drought, extreme heat waves and degraded air quality that threatens the health of residents.
Things will get worse, the authors wrote. The paper projects future trends and suggests that, by 2100, unless humanity takes forceful action to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change, some tropical coastal areas of the planet, like the Atlantic coast of South and Central America, could be hit by as many as six such crises at a time.
That prospect is "like a terror movie that is real," Mora said.
The authors include a list of caveats about the research: Since it is a review of papers, it will reflect some of the potential biases of science in this area, which include the possibility that scientists might focus on negative effects more than positive ones.
New York can expect to be hit by four climate crises at a time by 2100 if carbon emissions continue at their current pace, the study says, but if emissions are cut significantly that number could be reduced to one. The troubled regions of the coastal tropics could see their number of concurrent hazards reduced from six to three.
The paper explores the ways that climate change intensifies hazards and describes the interconnected nature of such crises. Greenhouse gas emissions, by warming the atmosphere, can enhance drought in places that are normally dry, "ripening conditions for wildfires and heat waves," the researchers say. In wetter areas, a warmer atmosphere retains more moisture and strengthens downpours, while higher sea levels increase storm surge and warmer ocean waters can contribute to the overall destructiveness of storms.
When a bullet-shaped skyscraper, a creation of the Foster studio that quickly became known as the Gherkin, opened in 2004, its curved lines made it a curiosity in the city's skyline. The building, officially 30 St Mary Axe, was a bold addition to London's historic financial center, known as the City.
Since then, the race to stand out on the London horizon has sped up, with unusually shaped towers known — officially or not — as the Shard, the Cheese Grater and the Walkie Talkie. At the same time, the Gherkin became less visible, almost enclosed in a thicket of other skyscrapers that is only going to grow in coming years.
The proposed new tower, the Tulip, would raise the aesthetic stakes, with a glass structure like a closed tulip blossom, echoing the shape of the Gherkin, on an elongated concrete stem, high above its neighbors.
The project is a partnership between the J. Safra Group, the owner of the Gherkin, and Foster and Partners. A formal planning application was submitted to the City authorities last month, and construction could begin in 2020 if permission is granted, though a spokeswoman for the project declined to discuss how it might be financed.
Visitors would be able to ride in glass "gondola pods" revolving around the outside of the summit. Inside would be viewing platforms, restaurants and a bar, and a glass chute for people to slide from one level to another.
For centuries, St. Paul's, the domed 17th-century cathedral, was the tallest structure in London and the highest vantage point for viewing a low-rise city. At about 365 feet tall, it was not surpassed until the 1960s.