At Least 64 Dead as Typhoon Mangkhut Batters Philippines, China
While Hurricane Florence inundated the Carolinas this weekend, Typhoon Mangkhut, the most powerful storm so far this year, battered the Philippines and Hong Kong before moving on to China's Guangdong Province Sunday, The Huffington Post reported.
"Typhoon Mangkhut is a huge monster with very similar strengths as Hurricane Florence," Chinese University of Hong Kong associate professor Yuan Xu told The Huffington Post.
The two most devastating landslides were in the mountainous Benguet Province, where 38 died and 37 are still missing, police said.
One of the landslides trapped dozens of miners and their families who had sought shelter in an old mining bunkhouse turned chapel, Itogen Mayor Victorio Palangdan told The Associated Press.
"They thought they were really safe there," Palangdan said, adding that the villagers were very poor and had few options despite wealthy corporations getting rich from gold mining in the region.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte repeated a desire Monday to "close all mining" in the country following the landslides, Reuters reported.
The storm devastated the key farming region of Cagayan, and adviser to Duterte Francis Tolentino told BBC News that only a fifth of the region's produce had been harvested before the storm.
Mangkhut then moved to Hong Kong Sunday, where it shuttered businesses, canceled around 900 flights and injured more than 200, BBC News reported.
Strong winds tore the corner off of a building, collapsed bamboo scaffolding and caused a storm surge that rose around 13 feet, The Huffington Post reported.
Winds also caused the city's high-rises to move.
"It swayed for quite a long time, at least two hours," Hong Kong resident Elaine Wong told Reuters of her building, according to BBC News. "It made me feel so dizzy."
Neighboring Macau closed all of its casinos for the first time in its history, BBC News reported.
The storm reached China's Guangdong Province Sunday afternoon with winds of 100 miles per hour, The Guardian reported.
More than 2.4 million people were evacuated before the storm struck, and the Chinese state broadcaster said four people had died as of Monday morning.
Schools in the area are closed until Tuesday, The Guardian reported, and the storm will move on to Guizhou, Chongqing and Yunnan provinces later Monday, BBC News reported.
While no study has yet been done assessing the degree to which climate change contributed to Mangkhut, the storm the China Meteorological Administration called the "King of Storms," as The Guardian reported, is in line with the type of storm expected to become more common as the planet warms.
"We do know that, on average, climate change is making storms stronger, causing them to intensify faster, increasing the amount of rainfall associated with a given storm, and even making them move more slowly," Texas Tech University atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe told The Huffington Post.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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