Typhoon Goni, One of the Strongest Storms on Record, Slams the Philippines
Typhoon Goni, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into the Philippines Sunday, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and killing at least 16.
The storm came as the Philippines grapples with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Southeast Asia, which complicated evacuations. The country has reported more than 383,000 cases and more than 7,200 deaths, according to The Guardian.
"This typhoon has smashed into people's lives and livelihoods on top of the relentless physical, emotional and economic toll of Covid-19," Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon told The Guardian.
This is the sound of one of the strongest storms ever witnessed on Planet Earth. This is super typhoon #RollyPH (… https://t.co/7ioyJONIOi— Scott Duncan (@Scott Duncan)1604224456.0
The storm destroyed tens of thousands of homes and displaced around 370,000 people, BBC News reported. Two million people were impacted overall and more than 100 towns and cities lost power, according to The Washington Post. The cost in crop damage stood at more than $22 million, impacting around 20,000 farmers.
Just before it made landfall on Catanduanes Island Sunday, the storm had winds of 195 miles per hour, making it the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. However, passing over the island weakened the storm, and by midday it was the strength of a Category 4 hurricane. It was downgraded to a tropical storm by the end of the day, The New York Times reported.
On Catanduanes Island, the storm killed at least six people and cut off water, electricity and cell phone coverage, the Philippine Red Cross told BBC News. In the town of Virac, the first major population center in the storm's path, the Red Cross estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the buildings were damaged.
The storm then moved on to the Philippines' most populous island of Luzon, home to the capital of Manila. However, the storm largely spared the capital, The New York Times pointed out. Instead, the Bicol region took the brunt of the damage.
In Bicol's Albay Province, southeast of Manila, Governor Al Francis Bichara said it was "probably the strongest storm I have seen," according to The New York Times.
"In our district, roofs were flying," he said.
At least 10 people died in Albay Province, BBC News reported, including a five-year-old boy. Two people drowned, one was crushed by a tree and one was caught in volcanic mud.
Volcanic debris also buried more than 300 homes in the province. Congressman Zaldy Co said on Facebook that several people were feared to have been buried alive.
Goni is the fourth typhoon to impact the Philippines within the past month, The Guardian pointed out. It comes just a week after Typhoon Molave killed 22 people and displaced 120,000. And another storm, Atsani, is currently strengthening and has the Philippines in its path.
Overall, the Philippines weathers an average of 20 typhoons and tropical storms every year, according to The New York Times. This year, it has endured 18 so far. But the climate crisis is making the situation even worse as the warm waters surrounding the Philippines heat even further, increasing the frequency and intensity of storms. In fact, the Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and this has not been helped by massive deforestation that removes natural flood barriers and wind breaks.
"Climate change is a big international idea, but we are facing this on the local level and we aren't equipped with enough progressive vision for it," Dakila Kim P. Yee, a sociologist at the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College, told The New York Times.
Typhoon Goni also intensified rapidly, a process that is fueled by warming ocean waters, The Washington Post pointed out. Its winds went from less than 100 miles per hour Thursday to almost 180 miles per hour Friday, and by Sunday they were at 195 miles per hour. During this time, the water fueling the storm was two to three degrees warmer than normal.
#Goni #RollyPH https://t.co/4OsgUclzGF— Stu Ostro (@Stu Ostro)1604101936.0
At its peak, it was the strongest storm in four years, with winds comparable to 2016's Typhoon Meranti and 2013's Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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